Carlos Alcaraz has never been so surpassed by Novak Djokovic. The rivalry of the year, the most anticipated match, the duel between the titans had hardly any battle. Djokovic took it, he devastated it, he dazzled in his perfection of playing indoor tennis and prevented Alcaraz, in his debut in the tournament, from reaching his first final (6-3 and 6-2). In exchange, it will be the opportunity for the Serbian to win his seventh master’s title and snatch one more record from the already retired Roger Federer.
By beating the Italian Jannik Sinner this Sunday, Djokovic will have seven crowns in the season-ending tournament, more than anyone in history, and will thus close a year in which he won three Grand Slams (Australia, Roland Garros and US Open ), reached the final of Wimbledon, reached 40 Masters 1,000 with Cincinnati and Paris-Bercy and surpassed the barrier of 400 weeks at the top.
In a season in which it seemed that the Alcaraz era was arriving to displace Djokovic’s tyranny, the Serbian once again slapped those who wanted to bury him, as in the Cincinnati final, but this time with an even greater corrective.
It is true that Alcaraz’s indoor credentials were not the best to challenge Djokovic’s reign in Turin, but the Murcian had added very positive feelings against the Russian duo Rublev-Medvedev and this translated into a dominating start.
Alcaraz’s aggressiveness overwhelmed Djokovic, who pulled his wrist to cushion the Spaniard’s blows and turn that initial advantage into equality. Alcaraz should have gone ahead on the scoreboard, his tennis deserved it, as well as the two break balls he had available, but Djokovic is pure survival. He saved a breaking ball with a second serve at 205 kilometers per hour. Inexplicable.
And just holding on and waiting, it was enough for him. Alcaraz collapsed in a horrible serve game and cost him the break and the set. In just over half an hour, Djokovic had turned an apparent starry duel into a walk towards his victory.
This had left a mark that was difficult to erase in Alcaraz’s mind, who began the second set unhinged, aware that a simple mistake had put him a set down against a tennis player who has won 20 of the last 21 matches and from whom he has not come back. one set down on hard court in the last 33 matches.
Only the serve – Alcaraz hit ten aces – kept him afloat, until Djokovic hit the second bite at the start of the second set. Another ‘break’ and Alcaraz, between desperation and laughter caused by the disbelief of what he was suffering, the game was clouded.
With 2-3 down and the Serb’s serve, he had one last attempt to get back on track, but Djokovic, with a huge serve and a dimensional passing, closed the last escape door. The following game, with his third break, Djokovic sealed his most overwhelming victory over the Murcian and buried the debate about the generational change, at least with the Spaniard, until next year.
Because now Djokovic will have to deal with Jannik Sinner, who defeated Daniil Medvedev in three sets and will play his first Masters Cup final. He will have the advantage of having the entire Turin public in his favor and with the experience of having already defeated Djokovic a few days ago on this same stage. Of course, with very different circumstances. This time there will be a title at stake and Djokovic is lethal there.
The other three precedents between Djokovic and Sinner were won by the world number one, who if he wins the title, in addition to surpassing Federer, will widen the difference with Alcaraz in the classification to 2,395 points.