Just in! Carlos Alcaraz Beats Novak Djokovic In Epic Wimbledon Final To Win His Second Grand Slam
Carlos Alcaraz produced a performance for the ages as he defeated seven-time champion Novak Djokovic in a five-set epic to claim his maiden Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam.
To be clear about the enormity of what the 20-year-old achieved on Sunday as he triumphed 1-6 7-6(6) 6-1 3-6 6-4, Djokovic had not lost a match on Centre Court for over 10 years when he was defeated by Britain's Andy Murray in 2013.
To battle past Djokovic on the most famous stage in tennis was one thing, but to do so having not previously appeared in a Wimbledon final, and to find a way back from losing the opening set so emphatically, was truly remarkable.
In just his 18th professional match on a grass court, Alcaraz was able to overcome the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion with the crowd treated to an instant classic that went all the way in thrilling fashion.
The tension was immediately palpable with both players having so much on the line: Djokovic was eyeing a men's record-extending 24th Grand Slam singles title; Alcaraz, meanwhile, was gunning for his maiden crown at the All England Club.
The nerves that blighted Alcaraz in his semi-final against Djokovic at Roland-Garros were present once again as he immediately lost his serve under immense pressure and struggled to find his rhythm from the back of the court.
It took until the sixth game for the Spaniard to belatedly get himself on the board, by which point Djokovic had already seized the initiative in the match and established a commanding lead.
An early break at the start of the second set gave Alcaraz some fleeting encouragement, but it did not take long for the 36-year-old to respond with a break of his own to get back on terms.
The crucial second set was very finely poised as it drifted to the business end and both players desperately attempted to find an edge while a time violation for Djokovic at a key moment in the tie-break only served to ramp up the pressure further.
Two uncharacteristic errors from Djokovic on his backhand side ultimately proved decisive as Alcaraz, seemingly from nowhere, grabbed the second set after a thrilling tie-break and let out a huge roar while cupping his ear to the crowd.
Suddenly, the momentum had shifted with Djokovic having looked largely in command, and it was the 20-year-old who clinched an early break of serve in the third set with a number of rasping groundstrokes.
A staggeringly long game with Djokovic serving at 3-1 down ended up bringing 13 deuces and taking 26 minutes with Alcaraz the one coming out on top en route to taking the third set in style with his illustrious opponent very much under the cosh.
Djokovic took a lengthy toilet break at the end of the third set as he gathered himself, and another epic passage of the battle ensued at the start of the fourth set as the crowd desperately hoped for a finale worthy of what had preceded it.
After another pulsating and extended game, the second seed blew a kiss to the crowd after he secured a gruelling break to lead 3-2, and he went on to close out the set and give the match what it thoroughly deserved: a final set to see it go the distance.
The deciding set immediately went to an extended deuce again as both players gave absolutely everything in a bid to get off to a strong start with the margins so thin, and it was Alcaraz who pounced for the crucial breakthrough to lead 3-1 with a flurry of incredible groundstrokes.
The composure then demonstrated by the young Spaniard as he closed out the triumph was extraordinary, but then that is what tennis fans have come to expect from him in his already dazzling career.