Alcaraz and Djokovic will finally share the stage again on Friday in Court Philippe Chatrier, where they will compete for a spot in the championship match.
Two weeks ago, before the start of play at the French Open, the brackets were set for the tournament, and one possible semifinal matchup immediately demanded attention: No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, the Next Big Thing in men’s tennis, against No. 3 Novak Djokovic, the Current Big Thing in men’s tennis.
The heightened anticipation was not merely because it would be fascinating to see the two of them play at Roland Garros. It also would be fascinating to see them play each other, period: They’ve only met once, and it was 13 months ago, with Alcaraz coming out on top.
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So get ready: Alcaraz and Djokovic will finally share the stage again on Friday in Court Philippe Chatrier, where they will compete for a spot in the championship match.
“Since the draw came out, everyone was expecting that match — the semifinal against Novak. Myself, as well,” Alcaraz said after completing his half of the bargain by outclassing Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the quarterfinals Tuesday night. “I really want to play that match.”
A moment later, Alcaraz observed: “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
That echoed, word for word, the phrase Djokovic uttered hours earlier as he looked ahead after beating Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday: “It’s definitely the biggest challenge for me, so far in the tournament. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. He’s definitely a guy to beat here. I’m looking forward to that.”
The other men’s pairing for the final four was scheduled to be determined Wednesday, based on the winners of these quarterfinals: No. 22 Alexander Zverev vs. unseeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry, and No. 4 Casper Ruud vs. No. 6 Holger Rune, a rematch of a contentious match in the same round a year ago in Paris.