After winning the nearly four-hour match to capture his third championship in Cincinnati and atone for his loss to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final last month, Djokovic fell to the ground and tore his shirt off.
During the post-match trophy presentation, Djokovic, who has won a men’s record 23 Grand Slam titles, said, “This was one of the exciting matches I’ve ever played in any competition.” That was “like a Grand Slam,”
The 36-year-old Djokovic survived the tournament’s longest men’s match since at least 1990 in near-90 degree heat to become the oldest man to win the title. Ken Rosewall won in 1970 at the age of 35.
The match was the longest best-of-three set final in ATP circuit history at 3 hours, 49 minutes.
Novak Djokovic saves championship point
When Alcaraz played a backhand winner to win the first set, the Serbian player appeared to be severely hindered by the high heat and scarcely moved.
Alcaraz took the lead at 4-2 in the second set, and it seemed as though the Spanish star may coast to victory despite spending more than 10 hours on the court this week.
However, Alcaraz would execute a poor serve performance with four unforced errors while leading 4-3, giving the world No. 2 life.
After winning a 25-shot rally in the second set tiebreak, Djokovic saved a match chance and went on to force a deciding set.
A angry Alcaraz slammed his hand into the plastic drink container next to his chair during the break before the third set, necessitating a medical timeout to tape his finger.
Djokovic broke for a 4-3 advantage in the final on his fifth attempt of the match.
The drama persisted as Djokovic lost two set chances before coming back and leading 5-3.
As Djokovic missed an overhead for a 5-5 tie, Alcaraz would break serve and save two additional match points.
Finally, a tiebreak was reached, which Djokovic won when the 20-year-forehand old’s return was wide.
The US Open starts on August 28. Alcaraz, the reigning champion, will undoubtedly start the competition as the number one seed.
Alcaraz remarked that the contest was rather close. I promise to return.
With each player having won two games, Djokovic and Alcaraz met for the fourth time on Sunday.
After defeating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in June.
Djokovic moved ahead of the Spaniard on the list of all-time major winners for men. Novak Djokovic saves championship point.
“The sensation that I get on the court reminds me a little bit when I was facing [Rafael] Nadal when we were at our prime,” he added.
“Every point is an effort. Every point is a conflict. Regardless of the circumstances, you literally have to earn every single shot and every single point.”
Djokovic compared Sunday’s lengthy encounter to the 2012 Australian Open final, which he won in 5 hours, 53 minutes against Nadal.
Djokovic told reporters, “I don’t think I’ve played too many matches like this in my life. “You just have to give a guy like that your respect. For a 20-year-old, he plays with such maturity and takes the pressure so well.
“We must not overlook his youth. It makes him so remarkable, in my opinion.
Alcaraz said: “It’s wonderful to hear those words from Novak, who has participated in illustrious and legendary matches. That signifies that my team and I are working hard and moving in the right direction.”
This report was produced in part by The Associated Press.
“That has been an emotional roller coaster and undoubtedly one of the hardest and most thrilling matches I’ve ever played in, regardless of the tournament.
To be honest, it felt even more like a Grand Slam championship.
The Serb could barely move at the end of the first set due to the extreme humidity when Alcaraz blasted a backhand winner to take the first point.
Alcaraz jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead in the second set, and it looked like he may coast to victory as his 36-year-old opponent began to fade in the hot Ohio sun.
But, Alcaraz would provide a subpar service game with four unforced errors when leading 4-3, giving the world number two hope.
Djokovic won a 25-shot rally in the second set tiebreak to force a deciding set and save a title point.
Novak Djokovic saves championship point
An angry Alcaraz slammed his right hand into the plastic drink container near to his chair during the break before the third set, necessitating a medical timeout to tape his finger.
Djokovic broke to take a 5-3 lead in the decisive, but he lost two match points in the following game.
As Djokovic missed an overhead to equalize the score at 5-5, the drama intensified. The players eventually entered another tiebreak, which Djokovic ultimately won on his fifth match point of the match.
Alcaraz remarked, “It will be difficult for me to speak at this time, but I tried to do my best.”
“I’d want to once more congratulate Novak. It’s incredible to compete with you, share the court with you, and gain knowledge from you. Although the game was really tight, I still learned a lot.”
With the victory, Djokovic earned his 39th Masters 1000 championship and 95th career victory.