World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Friday beat Spaniard Carlos Alacaraz in four sets to enter the French Open 2023 final in Paris. This is the seventh time that the Serbian has reached the final of the Roland Garros. Djokovic beat an injured Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in the men's singles semi-final.
With this effort, Djokovic tied Chris Evert for the most Grand Slam finals in the Open Era.
The 36-year-old Serbian came out firing in the generational battle on Court Philippe-Chatrier, pulling the 20-year-old Spaniard around with destructive and consistent groundstrokes to win the first set.
After Alcaraz levelled the match, he started to cramp in the right calf at the start of the third set, and forfeited his service game at 1-1 so he could fast-forward to a changeover and be treated by an ATP physio.
The Spaniard, who missed the Australian Open this year due to a leg injury, was unable to chase down shots and drive through the ball, with Djokovic moving back ahead. The third seed then soared through the fourth set against Alcaraz to advance after three hours and 23 minutes.
“First and foremost I have to say tough luck for Carlos,” said Djokovic in his on-court interview. “Obviously at this level the last thing you want is cramp and physical problems at the late stages of a Grand Slam. So I feel for him, I feel sorry. I hope he can recover and he can come back very soon.
“I told him at the net. He knows how young he is. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him, so he’s going to win this tournament I’m sure many man times. He’s an unbelievable player, an incredible competitor and a very nice guy, so he deserves all the applause and all the support.” (With ATP inputs)