Serbia Open: Djokovic beats Khachanov
World number one Novak Djokovic came back from a set down to beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov to reach Serbia Open final on Saturday, his first this year.
Djokovic lost the first set 4-6 but then bounced back to win the second 6-1 before clinching the decider 6-2 to seal the victory in the semifinal that lasted one hour 59 minutes.
Due to him not taking the vaccine against Covid-19, Djokovic was barred from playing at the Australian Open and the warm-up events leading up to it.
His first appearance on tour this year was at the ATP500 event in Dubai in February where Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely stunned him 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the quarterfinals, which took away the number one ranking from the Serbian. Russia’s Daniil Medvedev became the new world number one but Djokovic soon got the top ranking back courtesy of the Russian’s poor performances.
Djokovic then played at Monte Carlo Masters where he received a bye in the opening round but lost to eventual runner-up Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in three sets.
Barcelona Open: Alcaraz enters semis
Barcelona, Apr 23 (AP): Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz thrilled the home crowd by beating top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets to advance to the semifinals of the Barcelona Open. Alcaraz won the quarterfinal 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 after breaking the fifth-ranked Greek five times on the outdoor clay court named for Rafael Nadal.
The 18-year-old Alcaraz is aiming for his third title of the season after he won at Rio de Janeiro in February and in Miami this month. Alcaraz called it his biggest win on clay. “Unbelievable game that I played, an unbelievable atmosphere that I lived today on court. It was unbelievable everything,” the precocious talent who is drawing comparisons to a young Nadal said.
“The atmosphere here, the crowd, the level that I played, the level of the match. It was incredible.” All of the players who reached the quarterfinals had already played third-round matches earlier on Friday that had been pushed back from Thursday due to rain delays. Before facing Alcaraz, Tsitsipas needed just over an hour to beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-4. Alcaraz similarly eased past fellow countryman Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3.
Tsitispas looked finished when he was trailing Alcaraz by a set and 4-1. He fought to pull level with the youngster, but Alcaraz dominated the third set.
The teen sensation won the nighttime crowd over with his wide range of winners, including several well-placed drop shots that Tsitispas failed to reach.
Alcaraz, ranked 11th, is guaranteed to move into the top 10 men’s rankings.