Two-time champion Novak Djokovic takes on World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the final of the Cincinnati Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event, on Saturday.
The clash is scheduled to be the second match on the Centre Court following the women’s final between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova on the final day of this year’s edition.
When and where to watch?
It will be the first time Djokovic and Alcaraz will come face to face since the 20-year-old Spaniard defeated four-time champion Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in a thrilling Wimbledon final last month.
Djokovic, competing on US soil for the first time in two years and in Cincinnati after four years, has had a pretty straightforward run to the summit clash. The 36-year-old Serbian led Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4 in the first round when the Spaniard was forced to retire due to a back injury. Djokovic then knocked out Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, extending the win-loss record against the Frenchman to 19-0.
Djokovic took down local favourite Taylor Fritz 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals before beating Germany’s Alexander Zverev 7-6(5), 7-5 in the semifinals, his toughest match so far.
On the other hand, Alcaraz has had to battle through every round. He began his campaign with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson. American Tommy Paul, who defeated Alcaraz in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open, gave the Spaniard a scare in the round of 16 in Cincinnati but the top seed managed to beat him 7-6(6), 6-7(0), 6-3.
Alcaraz faced Max Purcell, another Australian qualifier, in the quarterfinals and it again took him three sets to defeat him 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. However, like Djokovic, Alcaraz too had his biggest test in the semifinals as he was forced to save a match point before taking down Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Alcaraz is the youngest Cincinnati Open finalist since Pete Sampras (19) in 1991 and aiming to become the youngest champion since Boris Becker (17) in 1985.
Played: 3 | Djokovic: 1 | Alcaraz: 2
Djokovic and Alcaraz have faced each other thrice. Their first meeting took place in the semifinal of the 2022 Madrid Masters where Alcaraz came from a set down to beat the Serbian 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5). In their second duel, Djokovic emerged triumphant 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in this year’s French Open semifinals. However, Alcaraz avenged that loss by upsetting the Serbian in the Wimbledon final.
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