Ganesh Chaturthi

French Open: 'Match against Alcaraz biggest challenge for me so far,' says Novak Djokovic

08 June,2023 07:55 AM IST |  Paris  |  AFP

Serbian Novak Djokovic reckons semis against World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz as toughest test in Paris as he chases record 23 Slam titles

Novak Djokovic celebrates a point against Karen Khachanov on Tuesday; (right) Carlos Alcaraz. Pics/AFP

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will square off in a blockbuster French Open semi-final. Djokovic, chasing a third French Open crown and record 23rd men's Grand Slam singles title, recovered from dropping his first set of the tournament to defeat 11th seed Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (7/0), 6-2, 6-4.

The 36-year-old Serb is in his 12th Roland Garros semi-final - his 45th at the majors - and faces Alcaraz for a place in the final after the World No. 1 thrashed 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.

Blockbuster tie

"That's the match that a lot of people want to see. It's definitely the biggest challenge for me so far in the tournament," said Djokovic, who lost his only meeting with Alcaraz in Madrid last year. "This match everyone wants to watch and I would say it is going to be a good match to play and watch as well," Alcaraz said of his pending showdown with Djokovic.

"I really wanted to play this match. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, and Novak Djokovic is one of the best in the world at the moment."

Djokovic hit 19 winners and just one unforced error in the third set, conceding a solitary point on his serve before breaking the Russian again for good measure.

Youngest semi-finalist

Alcaraz once more showed why he is the favourite with a convincing 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas in the night session, easily navigating his stiffest challenge to date.

The 20-year-old Spaniard has won all five meetings with Tsitsipas and becomes the youngest Roland Garros semi-finalist since Djokovic in 2007.

Also Read: French Open: World No. 1 Iga Swiatek maintains unbeaten record against Coco Gauff

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