In the first ATP H2H meeting between top seed Novak Djokovic and home favourite Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard prevailed in a thrilling three-set battle.
The seventh seed came from behind to beat the three-time former champion 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) in three hours and 35 minutes on Manolo Santana Stadium on Saturday to reach the Mutua Madrid Open final.
Novak took the first set, but Alcaraz bounced back in the second. The Next Gen ATP World Tour Finals titlist secured the win by clinching a third set tie-break.
The quality of tennis was absolutely sensational. The contest was a tight affair all the way through. Amazing rallies and stunning points kept the spectators on the edge of their seats.
Alcaraz produced another impressive display at La Caja Mágica as he came back from a set down to prevail over the 20-time Grand Slam winner, becoming the first ever player to defeat both Djokovic and Nadal at the same tournament on clay.
“He held his nerves very well. For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win,” Novak said.
Match statistics: aces (8-4), double faults (2-4), winners (24-51), unforced errors (31-57), total points won (131-134).
Defending champion Alexander Zverev (GER, 2) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE, 4) will close out the day’s play in the second semi-final clash.
Next competition for Novak will be the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (May 8-15).
The five-time former titlist reached semi-finals at the Rome Masters last year, when he suffered a 6-7, 3-6 defeat to Rafael Nadal.
The Italian Open will be the last warm-up event leading into the Roland Garros. The second Grand Slam tournament of the season takes place in Paris (May 22 to June 5).