Alcaraz beat Djokovic to clinch victory in Riyadh Season Tennis Cup
RIYADH — Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz triumphed over world number one Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an exhibition match here on Wednesday night.
The young Spaniard made an impressive start in the much-anticipated match played at the Kingdom Arena, breaking Djokovic’s serve in the opening game and holding his serve with some errors from Djokovic. However, the Serbian bounced back with some brilliant returns to regain a 3-2 lead and secured the first set 6-4.
Alcaraz came back strongly in the second set, breaking Djokovic’s serve en route to a 2-0 lead. Djokovic narrowed the gap to 2-3 as he won the fifth game with some stunning net play. However, Alcaraz clinched the second set 6-4 with two consecutive aces to level things up.
The deciding set began with Djokovic making a spectacular start, taking advantage of a missed lob from Alcaraz. The match heated up as the score remained close, with Alcaraz taking the lead following a forehand error by Djokovic. Alcaraz then held his serve by a narrow margin, before Djokovic saved two break points from the Spaniard and managed to pull a game back with his dominant service.
The sixth game saw Djokovic break back and level the scores at 3-3 in one of the most intense and dramatic games of the match, taking the upper hand on the third break point and then leading in the next game.
Alcaraz made a crucial breakthrough at 4-4, capitalizing on a long ball error from Djokovic, before going on to clinch the win.
Prior to Wednesday’s duel, Djokovic had led the pair’s head-to-head record with three wins to Alcaraz’s two.
The match in the Saudi capital is part of the Riyadh Season, an annual festival of arts, culture and sports, including the upcoming Riyadh Season Cup football tournament in early February, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr and Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami.