(CTN NEWS) – On Sunday, Novak Djokovic turned the tables as he overcame Carlos Alcaraz with a score of 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4), achieving redemption for his loss in the Wimbledon final and securing the championship at the Western & Southern Open held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Participating in his inaugural tournament on American grounds since 2021, the 36-year-old Serbian maestro orchestrated an incredible comeback after dropping a set and facing a break deficit against the world’s number one player.
Astonishingly, he thwarted a championship point, clinching his third Cincinnati Open title and the remarkable 95th ATP Tour title in his illustrious career.
Djokovic’s Triumph Amidst Epic Battle: Longest ATP Tour Final Since 1990
Following the marathon battle that stretched for three hours and forty-nine minutes, marking the lengthiest best-of-three sets final on the ATP Tour since 1990, Djokovic crumbled to the court momentarily, then sprang to his feet, jubilantly tearing off his shirt in exultation.
Reflecting on the strenuous encounter, Djokovic expressed, “Undoubtedly, this ranks among the most challenging and electrifying matches I’ve ever been a part of in any tournament.
The intensity was akin to a grand slam final, if not surpassing it. Each time we clash on the court, it invariably extends to the limit.”
This showdown could potentially offer a tantalizing glimpse into the future, potentially mirroring the anticipated US Open final next month.
Djokovic voiced his aspiration for another showdown with the 20-year-old sensation, quipping, “I’m hopeful we’ll square off again in a few weeks’ time in New York, particularly for the spectators. As for myself, well, it might not be as pleasant.”
In the second set, Alcaraz managed to put the 23-time major champion on the defensive, leading 4-3. However, a series of mistakes, including four unforced errors, handed Djokovic a fresh chance at the match.
The second set progressed to a tiebreak, during which Djokovic fought off a championship point, turning the tide and pushing the contest to a pivotal third set following his victory in a grueling 25-shot rally.
As the third set unfolded, Djokovic couldn’t seize the opportunity presented by several championship points. This set the stage for yet another tiebreak, in which Djokovic ultimately emerged as the victor.
Alcaraz’s Tribute and Djokovic’s Return to US Soil
During the trophy presentation, Alcaraz expressed his admiration, saying to Djokovic, “Playing against you, sharing the court, and learning from you is an incredible experience.
Despite the tightness of this match, I gained valuable insights from a champion like you. Congratulations to you and your team.”
Djokovic‘s appearance in this tournament marked his return to US soil since his defeat in the US Open final against Daniil Medvedev in 2021.
Due to his unvaccinated status against Covid-19, Djokovic had faced restrictions preventing his entry into the country over the past two years. However, changes to vaccine requirements for international travelers earlier this year enabled Djokovic to participate in the Cincinnati event.
Looking ahead, both players are preparing for the upcoming US Open, scheduled to commence on August 28 in New York.
Djokovic’s sights are set on securing his 24th career singles grand slam title, which would propel him past Margaret Court and establish a new all-time record across both men’s and women’s categories.
RELATED CTN NEWS: