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Alcaraz and Djokovic will play for the title in Cincinnati! Carlos saved the match point and will continue to lead

Date: September 30, 2023 Time: 01:50:51

On the night of August 19-20, Moscow time, at the Cincinnati Masters (USA), the semifinal fights took place. World number one Carlos Alcaras and Polish tennis player Hubert Hurkacz starred in the first match of the day. In the quarterfinals, Alcaraz expended much more strength, although his opponent was not the most formidable: 25-year-old Australian Max Purcell, ranked 70th in the ATP rankings. The Spaniard lost the first set, and in the third installment the score was 4:4. The result of the match could be anything, but Carlos showed his superiority: 4: 6, 6: 3, 6: 4.

Khurkach, in his quarterfinals, faced off with relative confidence against Russian-born Australian Alexei Popyrin, who netted as a lucky loser after Karen Khachanov’s elimination. The Pole won with a score of 6:1, 7:6 and, not without reason, expected to compete to reach the final. His opponent also understood this.

“We played last week in Toronto. It was a great game, very tough. In Cincinnati, the court is a bit faster than it is in Toronto, so the conditions here are probably more suitable for him. He has strong serves, strong shots. I have to play at the highest level to pass. It’s good, so a very interesting semi-final awaits us. It will be fun to watch”, Alcaraz said at a press conference after reaching the 1/2 final.

Previously, the Spanish tennis player played twice with the Hurkach. To the aforementioned match in the round of 16 of the Toronto Masters, where Carlos won a resounding victory by winning the second and third sets in tie-breaks, the semifinal of the Miami Masters in 2022 was also added. There he won Alcaraz in two matches. But also in two tiebreakers!

Carlos Alcaraz playing at the 2023 Cincinnati Masters

Photo: Aaron Doster/Getty Images

In the first set, Hurkacs immediately secured an advantage by leading 3-0 with a break. It should be noted that Alcaraz’s serve in the second game led him to zero. Later, the Spaniard had a chance to respond, but missed a total of three break points. And in the eighth game, the Pole scored the second break and took the game – 6:2.

In the second game, the opponents never made a break. However, there were enough sharp moments – so what! In the third game, Alcaraz missed three break points. And at 10, serving with a score of 4:5 not in his favor, he saved the match point! In the tie-break, Hurkach was the first to make a mini-break, winning 4: 1, but, again feeling the proximity of victory, he faltered, losing the next six points, and the set remained for the Spaniard-7: 4.

In the decisive third set, Alcaraz’s break in the fourth game became the key. Carlos earned a triple break point and converted it, albeit on the third attempt. And in the ninth game, he used the first match point: 2: 6, 7: 6 (7: 4), 6: 3 in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

“It was a ‘psychological’ semifinal, I had to stay in the fight. I had a lot of break points, it was very difficult. Of course, saving a match point is never easy, but the coach and I talked about the need to always stay positive and not give up. We knew that I would have chances and I tried to take advantage of them. Every match against Huby is very, very difficult. And I’m very, very happy that I was able to win,” Alcaraz said in an on-court interview.

And late at night, Moscow time, the former second racket in the world Alexander Zverev (16) and the 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic (2), participants in the “lower” semifinal, entered the court. Djokovic has reached this stage without dropping a single set. In the quarterfinals, he hung the “shuttle” on the favorite of the local public Taylor Fritz (6: 0, 6: 4) – and for the 16th time in his career he qualified for the ATP Finals.

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Zverev also managed to show good form. On the way to the semifinals, the German of Russian origin lost only one game – in the 1/8 finals with Daniil Medvedev (6: 4, 5: 7, 6: 4). And in the quarterfinals, Adrian Mannarino did not show much resistance to Alexander – 6:2, 6:3 in favor of the latter.

Ahead of the semifinals, both Djokovic and Zverev exuded cautious optimism. “I want to improve the level of play a little bit every day. In this tournament, I do. I had three great games and every day I felt better on the court. I hope to keep moving on the same trajectory, ”the ATP press service quoted Novak as saying after reaching the 1/2 final.

“I know there is quite an important game ahead, but when I feel good, I can do a lot on the pitch. It’s OK now. After Toronto, where I didn’t do well, I had to compete in Cincinnati and show good tennis. I’m glad I was able to make it to the semi-finals,” said Alexander after winning the quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic playing at the 2023 Cincinnati Masters

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In personal meetings, the advantage was on Djokovic’s side as expected: 7-4. As you can see, the score is pretty decent for Zverev. In the 2021 season they played five times with each other, but since then they have not crossed paths. At the same time, the German won three of his four victories on hard: the Serb, the recognized king of this coverage, had something to fear. And today’s semi-final lived up to expectations in this regard.

In the first game, Djokovic left with 0:40 on his serve. And in the 10th game, the Serb had three set points on reception, but was unable to use them. I had to play a tie-break, where Novak only had a mini-break with the score 1: 1 – 7: 5. Djokovic started the second game with a break, but in the tenth game he could not deliver a set and Zverev equalized the score: 5:5. However, his titled opponent once again took someone else’s serve, after which he was able to request the match: 7: 6 (7: 5), 7: 5 in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

“In the few games on Sasha’s serve where I had chances, I think I played well, especially at 5:5, after she took my serve and stayed in the game. I managed to recover, play a great game, break again and finish the match in game 12 of the second set. I am satisfied. I think there are some things that could be done better. But overall, this is a win without dropping a set over a player who is in great shape. So I’m very satisfied,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

In fact, despite the defeat, Zverev showed an excellent level. The proof of this is that he outperformed his opponent in many important indicators: aces-10 against four, winners-24 against 18, unforced-11 against 13. But this happens in tennis.

Thus, in the final of the Cincinnati Masters Carlos Alcaras and Novak Djokovic will meet. This will be his fourth full-time match, and now the score is 2-1 in favor of Alcaraz, who won the unforgettable Wimbledon final in five sets in July.

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Regardless of the outcome of the new matchup, Carlos will still be the first racket in the world on Monday, and Djokovic, as before, will be second. These are the numbers they will receive at the US Open, which will be held from August 28 to September 10.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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