Cincinnati (USA) – With tremendous flexibility, Serbian Novak Djokovic was brave and won the Cincinnati Masters 1000 title in a big upset over Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who had a match point in the second set tiebreak, but did not take advantage of the opportunity and ended up bypassing the current vice-captain of the standings, who scored parts 5/7 and 7/6 (9-7) and 7/6 (7-4), after 3h50 of battle.
This was the Serb’s 39th Masters 1000 title and the third in the tournament, as he was champion for the first time in 2018, thus becoming the first title in history to win all the Masters on the circuit. Sunday’s final was the 135th of Djokovic’s career, with 95 titles in total and 40 runners-up.
For the first time since 2012, the top two in the standings have reached the final of the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, and as at Wimbledon, whoever started on top was the runner-up. Djokovic avenged the defeat against the All England Club and thus the draw with Alcaraz, now with two victories each side.
The victory over the world number one was the 1,069th of his career for Noll, who is now relegated to third place among the most victorious players in the ATP, leaving behind Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal, both with 1,068. He stands behind Swiss Roger Federer, who ranked second after achieving 1,251 victories, and American Jimmy Connors, with his record of 1,274 victories.
Djokovic was best on the court in the first half of the opening set, opening 4/2 with a break at advantage. Only Alcaraz tried to bring it back right after that then leveled at 4/4. The Spaniard gradually developed in the match and in the eleventh game he took the second break, confirming the serve in the next match and thus score 1-0 on the scoreboard.
Despite reaching the final with nearly half the time Alcaraz needed, Djokovic was plagued by physical problems and felt very hot in Cincinnati. After a great start, he lost pace during the first set and finished the segment showing low energy. The situation became more apparent at the start of the second set, and he sought medical attention immediately after he was fractured in the third game.
Hinting that he was not feeling well, the Serb talked to the doctors and decided to stay in court. Even without showing his best physical form, he kept fighting and came back in the eighth inning. With no new breaks and with Djokovic already more active, the definition was a closely contested tie-break, with Alcaraz earning a match point, but falling short and taking advantage of the worst in the end.
In the third set, Djokovic was already much better and more communicative, raising the physical level again. He played very well, and the Serb had no more break points against him and managed to put pressure on Alcaraz, who avoided two break opportunities in the fifth game, and four more in the seventh, even so he ended up breaking that. Select match.
Djokovic took his first match points in the ninth game and the Spanish opponent avoided both of them, the second of them with a stunning move in the race. Then the Serb had to serve to get close, and he faced a very difficult match, as he saved three break points, and lost two match points, one of them with a double fault, and in the end it ended with a break.
Then it was Alcaraz’s turn to confirm, as he faced four break opportunities in the 11th minute. Then “Nol” played his game without fear and the definition went into a tie-break, which began with a double fault from the Spaniard and 3-0 to the Serbian on the scoreboard. After giving up a 3-3 tie, the Serbian player grew stronger in the last stage, going 7-4 and finally achieving a hard-fought victory over the world number 1.
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