Djokovic ousts cramping Alcaraz, reaches French Open final

Third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays against top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain at the French Open on Friday in Paris. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI
1 of 5 | Third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays against top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain at the French Open on Friday in Paris. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

June 9 (UPI) -- Novak Djokovic fired eight aces and broke Carlos Alcaraz's serve seven times, taking advantage of the Spaniard's cramped condition en route to a four set victory in the French Open semifinals Friday in Paris.

Djokovic, ranked No. 3, will face No. 4 Casper Ruud of Norway in the men's final Sunday at Roland Garros.


"First and foremost I have to say tough luck for Carlos," Djokovic said in his on-court interview. "Obviously at this level the last thing you want is cramp and physical problems at the late stages of a Grand Slam.

"So I feel for him. I feel sorry. I hope he can recover and he can come back very soon."

Djokovic and Alcaraz awed the crowd throughout the 3-hour, 23-minute match, sliding over the clay to hit acrobatic shots and sprinting to cover major ground on returns.

But Alcaraz needed several breaks during the match as he started to get cramps in his arms and legs, killing the Spaniard's momentum and hampering his athleticism.

"It was really tough for me to move in the first set," Alcaraz said. "In the fourth set, I had a chance, but it was tough. My full body started to cramp."


Alcaraz totaled three aces, converted just 2 of 12 break point opportunities and logged 50 unforced errors.

Djokovic totaled 39 winners and 36 unforced errors in the 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win.

Djokovic and Alcaraz each held their first service games. Djokovic held again to win the third game and broke Alcaraz in the fourth. Each player held over the next five games, leading to a set triumph for Djokovic.

Alcaraz and Djokovic each held their serves again through the first six games of the second set. Alcaraz held another serve in the seventh game and broke Djokovic in the eighth to go up 5-3 in the first set.

Djokovic then broke Alcaraz and held serve to tie the set 5-5. Alcaraz claimed the next game and broke Djokovic's serve to win the set.

Djokovic broke Alcaraz three times en route to a 6-1 third-set triumph. He went on to break Alcaraz again in his next two service games for a 5-0 lead in the fourth set. Alcaraz held in the sixth game.

Djokovic then won the match when Alcaraz hit his final return into the net.

Later Friday, Ruud advanced with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 triumph over No. 27 Alexander Zverev of Germany. He totaled five aces, converted 6 of 10 break point chances and totaled 19 unforced errors in the 2-hour, 9-minute match.


Ruud will meet Djokovic in the men's singles final at 9 a.m. EDT Sunday in Paris. No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland will face No. 43 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic in the women's final at 9 a.m. Saturday at Roland Garros. Those matches will air on NBC.

Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek win the 2023 French Open

Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds his trophy after winning his finals match against Casper Ruud of Norway during the 2023 French Open in Paris on June 11, 2023. Djokovic won the open 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

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