Alcaraz Flies Into Turin SFs, Sets Djokovic Showdown
Carlos Alcaraz has finished top of the Red Group after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Daniil Medvedev Friday in Turin, setting the stage for a semi-final Saturday night showdown (9 p.m. CET) with six-time champion Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals.
With the world’s Top 4 players all emerging from the group stage, Medvedev, the 2020 champion, will play Italian hope Jannik Sinner in the afternoon semi-final (2.30 p.m. CET).
Alcaraz and Medvedev produced a high-quality shotmaking show at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, where the Spaniard increased his aggression and moved forward to gain an advantage on the World No. 3.
“I think the most important thing that I did today was to stay strong mentally,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “There were a few games on my serve that I was struggling a bit. His return game is amazing and he puts so much pressure on your serve, so I think to stay calm and stay strong mentally in those moments was the key to give myself a chance to win this match.”
A pivotal moment came when Alcaraz reeled off seven consecutive points in the first set, breaking Medvedev’s serve to love at 3-3. Alcaraz, who is making his Nitto ATP Finals debut, played with variety, often mixing in serve-and-volleys and drop shots to counter Medvedev’s deep court positioning.
Alcaraz fended off the two break points he faced and looked for opportunities to step in on returns, winning 67 per cent of his second-serve points compared to Medvedev's 44 per cent.
World No. 2 Alcaraz struck 20 winners, including 13 off his forehand, and converted 16 of 21 net points to triumph after one hour, 20 minutes, improving to 3-2 against Medvedev in their Lexus ATPHead2Head series. The Spaniard’s trio of victories have all came in 2023.
A 12-time tour-level titlist, Alcaraz's next challenge will be a fifth meeting with 24-time major champion Novak Djokovic. Level at 2-2 in their Lexus ATPHead2Head series, the Serbian has won two out of three matches this season, including their most recent contest, a three-hour, 49-minute marathon final at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati. Alcaraz snapped Djokovic's 34-match winning streak at Wimbledon to lift his second major title after a five-set classic.
”It’s one of the most difficult challenges that I’m going to face, facing Novak in the Nitto ATP Finals, where he has won six times,” Alcaraz said. “Novak is Novak. He is the best player in the world right now. He’s lost just six matches this year, he’s unbelievable. I’m going to play my best tennis and enjoy it the same way I did the past few matches. I’m excited to face Novak.”
Now 65-11 for the 2023 season, Alcaraz is aiming for his seventh title of the year. The 20-year-old is the youngest Nitto ATP Finals semi-finalist since countryman Rafael Nadal in 2006. Despite dropping his opening match in Turin to Alexander Zverev, Alcaraz quickly rebounded with wins against Andrey Rublev and Medvedev. Alcaraz's victory on Friday eliminates Zverev, who faces Rublev in the evening.