Carlos Alcaraz

Apr 3, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) salutes the crowd after his match against Casper Ruud (NOR)(not pictured) in the men’s singles final in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

  • First, he beats Rafael Nadal. Now Carlos Alcaraz takes on No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Madrid Open semis
  • With Alcaraz the favorite going in, the match will take place Saturday, May 7 at 10 am ET
  • It’s the first meeting between the two. We break down the matchup and make a prediction

Not many players have beaten both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament.

Young Carlos Alcaraz, who turned 19 on Thursday, beat Nadal Friday and will try to complete the back end of a “legends doubleheader” Saturday in the Madrid Open semifinals.

Both players were ahead of him on the favorites list before the event began.

Djokovic vs Alcaraz Odds

Player Spread Moneyline Total
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) +0.5 (-110) +105 O 22.5 (-118)
[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) -0.5 (-125) -128 U 22.5 (-120)

Odds as of May 6 at BetMGM

Nadal was fairly clear before his meeting with Alcaraz that he had few expectations, given he was just returning from a two-month injury break and was low on endurance, training, and match play.

But in the end, even if he looked a step slow, the 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory by the underdog Alcaraz Friday was a tour de force for the youngster.

And now, he’s the favorite to beat Djokovic Saturday.

The teenager looked on his way to victory when he turned his ankle and hit his hand on a slip early in the second set.

But it’s great to be young. Not only did he brush that off, he finished off the victory with a display of creative all-court tennis that showed everyone just why the tennis world is so high on his prospects.

Not in a year or two. Right now.

Djokovic Makes Quick Work of Hurkacz

There was … far less drama earlier Friday as Djokovic took on No. 12 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

Simply put, Hurkacz’s forehand didn’t make the date. He was spraying it all over the place.

The 6-3, 6-4 score doesn’t do justice to how routine it was.

Djokovic’s run to the semifinals has been a relative breeze so far. First there was the withdrawal by Andy Murray before their third-round match, and then this.

The Serb lost just 7-of-36 points on his first serve. And he won two-thirds of the points on his second serve.

Djokovic never faced a break point.

Djokovic vs Alcaraz Head-to-Head

34 (May 22, 1987) Age 19 (May 5, 2003)
Belgrade, Serbia Birthplace El Palmar, Murcia, Spain
6-2 Height 6-1
86 Career ATP Singles Titles 4
No. 1 (July 4, 2011) Career High Ranking No. 9 (April 25, 2022)
No. 1 Current Ranking No. 9
$154,927,064 Career Prize Money $4,338,906
8-3 2022 Won/Loss record 26-3
1 Career Head to Head 2

Beating Nadal and Djokovic Back-to-Back

It has happened that a player has beaten both Nadal and Djokovic in the same tournament. But not often, and not recently.

Most of those who can brag about doing it rode off into the sunset a long time ago (and did it in the 2008-2010 period: Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic, Nikolay Davydenko.

Beating just one of them is tough enough.

Stan Wawrinka managed it at the 2014 Australian Open, but not back-to-back.

In Madrid exactly 15 years ago, David Nalbandian defeated Nadal in the quarterfinals, Djokovic in the semifinals and Federer in the final.

But that was in 2007, when Madrid was a late-season indoor event – Nalbandian’s happy place back in the day.

A lot will depend on how Alcaraz rocks up from that ankle tweak. Because when the tape comes off and the adrenaline wears off, it was quite a nasty tumble.

And coming right back the next day to face the world No. 1, even if perhaps there is less national pride and Spanish tennis history at stake, is a big step up.

Not that the kid isn’t up to it.

Rare Underdog Moment for Djokovic

It’s hard to remember when Djokovic was the underdog in any match he’s played. Other than against other “Big 3” opponents, it’s only happened twice.

Whether he pays attention or not, Djokovic is not going to like it. And if he isn’t back to full, 100 percent Djokovic yet after having played so little tennis in 2022, he’s not that far away.

One of the things that fuels these 30-something legends is when a new kid shows up. It tends to give them a fresh charge of energy.

Djokovic will be up for it, and you’d expect he will find a way. It’s awfully tough to bet against him, no matter how good Alcaraz is.

Best Bet: Djokovic in Three Sets (+350)

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