Novak Djokovic battles brutal heat to get revenge over Carlos...
Novak Djokovic battles brutal heat to get revenge over Carlos Alcaraz in Cincinnati final

Novak Djokovic battles brutal heat to get revenge over Carlos Alcaraz in Cincinnati final

Novak Djokovic survived the brutal conditions to get revenge over Carlos Alcaraz and win the Cincinnati Open. The Serb saved a championship point to defeat the world No 1 5-7 7-6(7) 7-6(4) exactly five weeks after losing to Alcaraz at Wimbledon. It means he goes into the US Open with the edge after levelling his lifetime record against the 20-year-old to 2-2. Djokovic managed to come back from the brink after grappling with the 35-degree heat early on in the match, avenging his recent defeat in the Wimbledon final. And it comes at a significant time, in both Alcaraz and Djokovic’s last tournament before the US Open where they are the top two seeds and could face off in the final. Ahead of Sunday’s match in Cincinnati, Greg Rusedski claimed it was “crucial” in the context of the final Major of the year. “I think there’s a lot at stake here for this match, Whoever wins this one, let’s throw out the seedings of who is No 1 and 2 in the world, they will be the favourite going into New York,” he said on commentary for Prime Video. The Serb made a fast start as he broke for a 4-2 lead but the world No 1 got an immediate break back. With the temperature on court well above 30 degrees, Djokovic appeared to be struggling in the heat as he shouted over towards his box for a drink. The final marked Djokovic’s first appearance in the day session all week and it showed as the second seed struggled with the conditions. The 20-year-old got a crucial break to serve for the set at 6-5 and closed it out in exactly an hour. The second seed continued to struggle with the heat in set number two, calling the physio when he was broken in the third game after hitting two double faults. Djokovic had his pulse checked and took some medication, and the medicine eventually seemed to wear in as he broke back to draw level. The second set went to a tiebreak where the pair traded mini-breaks before Alcaraz had a match point on Djokovic’s serve. But the Serb saved it and managed to take it 7-6(7), forcing a decider. Alcaraz saved two break points to take a 3-2 lead but Djokovic proved relentless, creating four more chances to break at 3-3 before he finally converted the fifth break point of the game. The Spaniard then had to fend off two championship points on his next service game, saving the second after an incredible rally that saw him send the ball straight past Djokovic. Stepping up to serve for the title, Djokovic then had to save two break points before he set up another championship point. But he blew it, hitting a double fault with his second serve rolling straight down to the net. The Serb saved another break point before getting to his fourth championship point with a stunning pass. The game went into its 11th minute as Alcaraz saved it and set up his fourth break point, finally taking it. Another dramatic game ensued with the top seed saving four break points before the match went to a final set tiebreak. Djokovic raced to a 3-0 lead before Alcaraz drew level, changing ends at 3-3. But the 36-year-old took a mini-break lead once more and this time he finally closed out the victory after three hours and 48 minutes, falling to the floor in celebration.

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