Published On: Fri, Nov 17th, 2023
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Carlos Alcaraz sets up Novak Djokovic ATP Finals showdown with Daniil Medvedev revenge | Tennis | Sport

Carlos Alcaraz set up a blockbuster showdown with Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals as he defeated Daniil Medvedev to reach the semi-finals and ensure his status as the winner of the Red Group. After losing to Medvedev at the US Open, Alcaraz avenged his defeat with a 6-4 6-4 victory. And he will now face Djokovic on Saturday – their first meeting since their thrilling Cincinnati final.

Alcaraz stepped onto the court knowing that he needed to beat Medvedev to win the group to stay alive in the tournament, while the 27-year-old had already booked his spot in the semi-final. The Spaniard was still trying to find his best form after a difficult few months and had gone 1-1 in his first two round-robin matches while Medvedev won both of his ties.

The world No 2 was also bidding to get revenge over Medvedev after losing their most recent meeting in the US Open semi-final, bringing his title defence attempt to an end. The Russian looked to strike first early on in their ATP Finals meeting with two chances to break but Alcaraz jumped into life, pointing to the sky as he saved both and won an incredible 33-shot rally with a winner at the net before holding for 2-2.

That game seemed to give Alcaraz the boost he needed as it was his turn to have break points a few games later. The 20-year-old let out a roar as he broke to love with some impressive shot-making, smiling as he recreated one of his backhands while sitting down at the changeover. And the break proved crucial as he closed out the first set 6-4 after 40 minutes.

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Alcaraz tried to strike early again in the second set as he had a couple of break points in the third game. But Medvedev suddenly turned into a wall, getting every ball back and failing to miss. The 20-year-old knew that it would take something special to break his opponent down but he was up for the challenge.

With Medvedev serving at 4-4, Alcaraz ran him around the court and drew out some errors from the third seed to earn two more chances to break. A double fault gifted him the game and he went on to serve out a straight-set victory – exactly what he needed to top the Red Group.

It marks the first time this week that Medvedev has even lost a set across his round-robin matches and serves as the perfect redemption for Alcaraz, who has struggled to find his best form in recent months. The Spaniard started the week on a three-match losing streak for the first time since 2021 when Alexander Zverev beat him in his first round-robin match.

It came after he lost his opening match in Paris-Bercy and crashed out in the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters. But Alcaraz has turned things around and now finds himself in the semi-final of the ATP Finals on his debut as the group winner.

He will face Djokovic on Saturday after the world No 1 came second in the Green Group in what will be their fifth career meeting with their head-to-head tied at 2-2. With Djokovic, Alcaraz, Medvedev and Jannik Sinner through to the semi-final, it marks just the fourth time in ATP Finals history that the top four players in the world have made it out of the group stage after the same happened in 1990, 2004 and 2020.

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