Alcaraz downs Djokovic and Nadal to make history
Alcaraz proved exactly why he is the hottest name in tennis right now as he lived up to his hype and managed to beat Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back to make the final in Madrid, where he needed just 62 minutes to roll through defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 to lift the title.
The new world No 6 had never beaten Nadal and was facing him exactly 366 days after their first meeting, in which Alcaraz won just three games on his 18th birthday as the 120th-ranked wildcard making his Masters 1000 debut. He came into the tournament as a different man and managed to overcome an ankle injury he picked up in the second set to defeat his idol 6-2 1-6 6-3.
The following day it was a first meeting with the world No 1, and the teenager came through a three hour and 35 minute marathon to send the three-time former champion packing with a 6-7(5) 7-5 7-6(5) victory. He became the first man ever to beat the two players back-to-back on a clay court, and the youngest to beat them anywhere. Alcaraz was also the first man to beat the top three seeds at the same tournament in succession since David Nalbandian ousted Federer, Nadal and Djokovic en route to the Madrid title in 2007.
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Jabeur makes history with biggest title yet
Jabeur got a long-awaited WTA 1000 title after reaching four quarter-finals and one semi-final at 1000-point level in the past. But it wasn’t like a landmark victory for the world No 7, who is now back to her career high, but a milestone in Arab and African tennis.
The Tunisian became the first Arab or African player ever to win a WTA 1000 title, and is well aware of the legacy she is creating in the Middle East, as her psychologist Melanie Maillard told The National: “She is someone very strong and she knows what she has to do and why and each time she goes on court she has to remember that this is bigger than her but that she can take this responsibility.”
Organisers come under fire for scheduling
The Madrid Open tournament organisers were slammed for their scheduling on women’s finals day as the championship match between Jabeur and Pegula was scheduled for 6.30pm local time, despite Djokovic and Alcaraz’s semi-final given a 4pm slot earlier in the day. The women’s final started around two hours late, prompting the likes of Mark Petchey and Catherine Whitaker on Amazon Prime to slam the treatment of the women’s final as an afterthought.
It also meant the second men’s semi-final between Zverev and Alcaraz got underway shortly before midnight and finished close to 1am, and the two-time former champion slammed organisers after losing the final to Alcaraz less than 24 hours later. Praising the 19-year-old and saying he didn’t want to “take anything away” from Alcaraz’s win, the German also said: “I had absolutely no chance today of being myself. I had absolutely no chance of playing my level. This is not the first time this is happening. I mean, in Acapulco I played until 5am. I played until 5am I was awake until 8.30am. This is happening on a weekly basis, and to be honest, I’m a little bit tired of it.”