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GUTS AND GLORY — Alcaraz, Djokovic collide in ATP Finals semis


‘Novak is Novak, he is the best player in the world right now, he’s just lost six matches this year so that means he is unbelievable. I’m going to bring my best tennis.’

Carlos Alcaraz (left) and Novak Djokovic are on a collision course in the ATP Finals semifinal round in Turin, Italy. | QUICLER/agence france-presse

TURIN, Italy (AFP) — Carlos Alcaraz is dreaming of victory at the ATP Finals after setting up a semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic with Friday’s 6-4, 6-4 win over Daniil Medvedev.

Alcaraz came into his debut Finals appearance struggling with form and injury but has warmed up as the tournament has progressed and is now a serious threat in the semis, which features the world’s four top-ranked players.

“Well, it’s just two matches, but at the same time it’s too far away. I have Novak in the semifinal. If I win that match, I have a really tough final,” Alcaraz told reporters.

“I’m dreaming about winning this tournament. Why not? But I have to play my best first in the semifinal.”

World No. 2 Alcaraz needed to win to ensure a spot in the last four, and he did just that in impressive fashion, cruising to a victory against Medvedev who had looked hugely impressive in his previous two victories in Turin.

Winning in straight-sets ensured him first place in the Red Group ahead of Medvedev, regardless of the result of the late match which was won 6-4, 6-4 by Alexander Zverev against Andrey Rublev.

Alcaraz also gained a small measure of revenge for defeat in the US Open semi-finals against Medvedev, who finishes second in the group after having already qualified for the semis on Wednesday.

Alcaraz has a burgeoning rivalry with Djokovic as the Spaniard is already a two-time Grand Slam champion at the age of 20 and won an epic five-set Wimbledon final against the world number one.

His semifinal with Djokovic, who beat Alcaraz on his way to triumph at Roland Garros and in the final at Cincinnati, on Saturday promises to be a blockbuster.

“Novak is Novak, he is the best player in the world right now, he’s just lost six matches this year so that means he is unbelievable. I’m going to bring my best tennis,” Alcaraz said.

Djokovic has already secured the year-end top spot in the world rankings and is gunning for a record-breaking seventh Finals triumph after qualifying second in the Green Group.

Medvedev, the 2020 Finals champion, will now face home hope Jannik Sinner, who became the first Italian ever to reach the tournament’s semis on Thursday.

“First of all, at this moment he’s in top form… He can do everything,” Medvedev said.

“Here he played unbelievable, but he still lost two sets. That’s what I’m going to try to aim for: Try to play like guys who won the set from him.

“I need to definitely be at my absolute best and better than today, tomorrow.”

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