Novak Djokovic won his third ATP Cincinnati Open title in a grueling battle with Carlos Alcaraz. The top players fought fiercely for almost four hours, Djokovic survived a match and eventually won 5-7, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/4). Despite appearing tired in the second set, Djokovic’s relentless determination helped him win, demonstrating his determination on the court.
After the match, Djokovic insisted: “It’s crazy, I don’t know what I can say. It’s hard to describe. It was the hardest game I’ve ever played in my life.”
“From start to finish, we both went through ups and downs, unbelievable points, bad games, heatstroke, comebacks. Overall, this was the most difficult and exciting match I’ve ever played. It’s matches like this that I keep working for.”
In the burgeoning rivalry, the 20-year-old Alcaraz and the 36-year-old Serbian star face each other again. The Serb avenged his Wimbledon loss to Alcaraz in the five-set final. Having changed number one six times this year, they now stand at two wins each in head-to-head confrontations.
“Honestly, I feel proud of myself. I don’t know why I’m crying because I fought until the last ball,” Alcaraz said.
“I almost beat one of the all-time greats in our sport. I left the court really happy with what I did. The 20-year-old gave everything he had against Djokovic and realized it wasn’t enough.”
“The game was really tough. Novak returned five, six, seven balls for each point,” said Alcaraz.
“So fighting and running from corner to corner at every point was really hard to deal with for most of the game. I left everything on the pitch. I’m working really well. But today, it’s hard to deal with everything that Novak had.”
Djokovic, who clinched a record-long 39th win at the elite Masters 1000 level, took the first break of the opening set with a 4-2 lead.
(With input from agencies)
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Updated: August 21, 2023, 10:24 AM IST