Novak Djokovic beat Carlos Alcaraz at the ATP Finals in Turin despite a stunning serving performance from his rival.
World No 2 Alcaraz produced a sensational serving display as he got 84 per-cent of his first serves in on a court that has been confirmed as the fastest used in the entire ATP Tour season.
Despite that speed and Alcaraz’s first serve accuracy, Djokovic still managed to break the serve of the world No 2 on three occasions as he cruised to a 63 62 win to set up a re-match with Jannik Sinner, just a few days after he lost against the Italian in the group stages of the tournament in Turin.
In total, he managed to land 47 of his 56 first serves, which is a remarkably high level for a player who lose a match.
Alcaraz won 62 per-cent of his first serves, but he only won 33 per-cent of his second service points and that proved to be a crucial factor in the outcome of the match.
Djokovic’s performance was hailed as one of the best of his remarkable career, with former British No 1 Greg Rusedski suggesting the Serbian is undisputed as the best athlete in world sport.
“He is getting better, he is a freak of nature,” Rusedski told Amazon Prime.
“He works harder than everybody. He does everything he needs to do in terms of recovery and fitness and is quite phenomenal.
“To me, he is not just the greatest tennis player of all-time, he is the greatest athlete on the planet at the moment, that’s how good he is.
“This is an individual sport, it’s all about him. He has to play all the young bucks and at the age of 36, that’s when you are usually slowing down. He’s not slowing down, he’s actually getting better.
“That performance for a set and a half was as good as Novak has ever played. It was that good tonight.
This sequence of points 🥵
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 18, 2023
“We are really blessed to have Novak playing at this level at this age.
“He is the master. He knows when to put pressure on, when to defend. He is the master.”
Djokovic suggested his motivation is higher than ever, as he confirmed his performance against Alcaraz was close to perfection.
“I knew from the beginning it would be very intense,” said Djokovic.
“We have played four times and he is one of the most complete players I have faced in my life.
“Very dynamic, very fast, capable of doing many things on defense and offense.
“It’s a great victory for me. I served well when I should, it was an almost perfect match on my part.”
Djokovic will now face Italy’s Jannik Sinner in the final on Sunday, just a few days after he lost against the Italian in the group stages of this week’s ATP Finals in Turin.
“I’m careful about everything when I play against the No 1 or the No 2 in the world,” said Sinner before the outcome of Djokovic’s semi-final with Alcaraz was known.
“Tough matches are coming up. Not so much time to enjoy this moment because tomorrow is going to be a really tough match. But I’m looking forward to it.
“I feel privileged to play against Novak or against Carlos. It’s going to be a tough match. I’m looking forward to it. Trying to give all that I have, 100%, & hopefully it’s going to be a good matchup.
“The previous matches don’t really matter. Especially with this format, you can win against one, but after you can lose. It’s different. But I’m still happy that I can go one more time on the court here in Turin.”