Carlos Alcaraz believes the sky is the limit after becoming the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the same tournament on clay as he stormed into the Madrid Open final on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Spaniard reached his second ATP Masters final in five weeks and claimed his first win over a reigning world number one, overcoming Djokovic 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in front of a sell-out home crowd at the Caja Magica.
Alcaraz has a tour-leading seven wins against top-10 players this season. He enters Sunday’s final against defending champion Alexander Zverev carrying a nine-match winning streak, having triumphed in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago.
He is the youngest player to beat a world number one in 17 years.
Asked if he sees a limit to what he can achieve, Alcaraz said: “I don’t think so. Tomorrow I will go for the final as I did in Miami. I’m really happy to be able to play a second Masters 1000 final.”
“I would say that I feel ready to compete against them (the top players) in every single tournament, in every single surface,” added the Miami champion.
Zverev moved into his third Madrid final with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win against Greek world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a clash that finished at 1:06 am local time (2306 GMT Saturday).
The German second seed, a champion in the Spanish capital in 2018 and 2021, extended his Madrid winning streak to nine consecutive matches. Zverev has won both of his previous meetings against Alcaraz.
A calm and collected Alcaraz kicked off the match against Djokovic with a service break, thanks to a well-timed cross-court backhand passing shot. He was soon up 3-1 on the top seed.
Djokovic, who turns 35 this month, struck back to draw level at 4-4 as the set went to a tie-break.
A fired-up Djokovic sped to a 5-1 advantage and soon got his hands on four set points.
Alcaraz saved the first with an aggressive return and another with an ace. The Spaniard save a third with a spot-on drop shot to narrow his deficit to 5-6 but Djokovic closed out the set on his fourth opportunity after 62 minutes.
The players were neck and neck in the second set, until Alcaraz upped the ante in game 12, winning key battles at the net and perfectly using his drop shot when he needed to.
The Murcia native claimed a break and the set with a sensational get, running down a Djokovic drop shot and hitting a winner from outside the doubles alley.
– Djokovic cuts hand -Djokovic staved off three break points on his serve in game four of the decider, digging deep for a 2-2 hold.
The world number one fell during the next game and needed some medical attention for a wound on his right hand. Two more break points came and went for Alcaraz on his opponent’s serve as Djokovic battled to hold for 3-3.
It was Djokovic’s turn to put pressure on the Alcaraz serve, but the seventh seed successfully side-stepped a break point to hold in game seven.
The crowd went wild as Alcaraz blasted a forehand winner for his first match point. Djokovic responded with a steely ace and dug deep to level at 5-5.
It all came down to a final-set tie-break and the Caja Magica was shaking with “si se puede” (‘Yes you can’) chants. Alcaraz drew first blood, opening up a 4-2 gap.
Djokovic saved a second match point for 5-6 but Alcaraz was third time lucky, claiming a statement three-hour 35-minute victory with another forehand winner — his 35th of the match.
Djokovic converted just one of six break points but still walked away from Madrid with a positive outlook on his game.
“He held his nerves very well. For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win,” said the Serb of Alcaraz.
“I had a lot of chances, and it was a fantastic match. Great battle. But I am definitely disappointed with not being able to use my chances.
“I definitely played very good tennis – the best that I have played this year.”
Mike Tyson looks frail as he demanded for wheelchair at airport
Mike Tyson needed to use a wheelchair at an airport as the former heavyweight world champion struggled with a back injury.
Boxing legend Tyson had one of the most high-profile careers in the sport of boxing having reigned as undisputed champion. The former heavyweight retired in 2005 after losing to Kevin McBride, but has since made a return to the ring in exhibition format sharing the ring with Roy Jones Jr in 2020.
Tyson is now 56 and has been showing signs of his age despite recently posting videos of himself looking in shape. But he recently required a walking stick while in New York and has now been spotted in a wheelchair in Miami.
The boxing legend has reportedly been having back problems and has been suffering from a sciatica flare up which has left him wheelchair-bound as a way of taking pressure off his injury. A source played down the images, telling TMZ : “He’s dealing with a sciatica flare-up. Nothing serious. Just an occupational hazard for an athlete like Mike.”
This comes just days after Tyson was spotted limping while using a walking stick as an aid to keep him balanced, which was reportedly also used in relation to the injury. Tyson has continued to maintain his fitness by training at the gym with his coach, despite being years from his prime days as a champion.
Images of Tyson in a wheelchair sparked more concerns after Tyson issued a prediction on his life expectancy during a recent episode of his HotBoxin’ podcast recently. “We’re all gonna die one day of course. Then, when I look in the mirror, I see those little spots on my face. I say, ‘wow. That means my expiration date is coming close, really soon’.”
BREAKING: Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe declares Man Utd takeover interest
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, is interested in buying a stake in Manchester United, if the Glazers are willing to sell the crisis club.
Pressure is mounting on the American owners after yet another dismal start to the Premier League season. Former director Michael Knighton has already outlined his intentions to complete a hostile takeover, with boyhood United fan and Ineos CEO Ratcliffe now ready to join the consortium.
Ratcliffe was one of the parties interested in buying Chelsea this year and has previously distanced himself from acquiring United. But in a new statement, he has now declared he would be a willing investor. “If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer,” Ratcliffe’s spokesperson told the Times. “If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership.”
The announcement comes just hours after reports have emerged that the Glazers, who have owned United for 17 tumultuous years, are considering selling a minority stake in the club. It is understood that preliminary discussions have taken place about offloading shares and bringing in fresh investment.
And Radcliffe believes a cash injection is required, to help fund not only an improvement off the pitch, but to upgrade the facilities off it. “This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent. Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”
However, hopes of a rapid transferring of power remain faint, with the current owners steadfast they will not completely relinquish control. That is despite yet more protests planned by supporters, with a number of supporters set to demonstrate outside Old Trafford before Monday night’s game at Liverpool.
Knighton has spoken in clear terms about how he hopes to oust the Glazers, although there are reservations about his capacity to complete a deal having infamously failed in an attempt to buy them in 1989.
Nevertheless, he has revealed that he has been in discussions with a number of billionaires in an attempt to match the £6bn valuation and had stated he was hoping to “smoke out” Ratcliffe.
“They are small-time billionaires that I have been speaking to for three to four months now”, Knighton explained to ITV News. “When I was approached by some fan groups, oddly enough, saying ‘look, our club is dying on its feet’ would you please do something?’
“I made a few phone calls and I’ve been pulling this consortium together ever since. We are not the great Sir Jim Ratcliffe. We do not have those resources. We are not some nation state sovereign fund who has oil revenue of two billion a day. The point is: someone had to make a stand.”
On potentially including Ratcliffe in the takeover, Knighton added: “If we can smoke the great Sir Jim out to buy Manchester United my consortium will be punching the air because we’ve achieved what we want to do.
“We will make the bid with our own consortium but, I’ll tell you this, we do not have the resources available to do everything that is needed.”
PSG crisis: Kylian Mbappe unhappy with Lionel Messi for taking side in feud with Neymar
Kylian Mbappe is said to be upset that Lionel Messi is close to Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain as the club are reportedly on the brink of crisis following the latest high-profile fallout.
Mbappe and Neymar fell out over the order of penalty takers in the team during the Ligue 1 clash against Montpellier this weekend, after the Brazilian did not allow his teammate to take PSG’s second spot-kick after the Frenchman had seen his first effort saved.
So bad was the tension inside the dressing room that experienced defender and former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was reportedly forced to step in to separate the feuding pair – as cracks reappeared, in spectacular fashion, within the squad.
There is reportedly an element of rivalry between Mbappe and Messi at the Parc des Princes relating to the status of Neymar while multiple reports last season outlined the depth of the dressing room split in Paris – with Mbappe believing Messi’s friend lacks discipline and is damaging to the club.
A constant theme in recent years of the PSG dressing room is a lack of discipline and meaningful leadership at the club.
Mbappe opted to sign a three-year contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions earlier this summer, with reports claiming that the striker would hold great sway in the club’s sporting decisions as part of the agreement to extend his stay at the Parc des Princes. Indeed, the appointment of new sporting director Luis Campos could be linked to Mbappe as the pair know each other from their time together at Monaco.
However, a report from goal.com explains that Mbappe is already feeling frustrated that he does not have the power at the club that he had assumed, with the influence that Neymar had over both Messi and Sergio Ramos – the two other heavyweights in the dressing room – said to be a source of discontent.
The fallout of the weekend’s incident has continued subsequently with Neymar ‘liking’ two social posts that slammed Mbappe over the episode. The first post included the sentence: “After the game, the coach said that Mbappe will be the team’s main hitter for the season. An absurdity.” In the second post ‘liked’ by Neymar, the Frenchman is accused of being “the owner of PSG.”
There was a significant off-field change at PSG this summer with the appointment of Campos to replace the outgoing Leonardo as sporting director, while Christophe Galtier replaced Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout.
Their priority was to instil much-needed discipline at the club and transform the transfer policy – with Vitinha, Renato Sanches and, in the works, Fabian Ruiz fixing the midfield – but the former aim is receiving an early test after this weekend’s events.
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