The world number two, Carlos Alcaraz, defeated Novak Djokovic despite losing the first set in the Tennis Cup to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a Saudi Arabian exhibition match.
The match saw the sport’s best two active players clash in the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as the city continues its mega week of sport after hosting a blockbuster boxing event on Saturday, December 23.
Djokovic seemed to be in sharper form in the early exchanges in the rematch of the 2023 Wimbledon final, despite Alcaraz‘s quick start but the Asturian didn’t go down without a fight as he won the second set before winning the third to get a big boost of confidence ahead of the resumption of the ATP Tour.
The first set
It would be the maverick Spaniard who would draw first blood by breaking the experienced Serbian in the opening game of the contest, but Djokovic didn’t take long to break back.
His notorious mental strength shone through as he saved three break points at 4-3 to decide the destiny of the set, which he closed out by winning the following two games to win the first set 6-4 after a double-fault from Alcaraz.
The second set
The second set began as the first did, with the younger player breaking Djokovic‘s serve in the second game. However, it didn’t follow the same pattern as Alcaraz won the fourth game to claim a dominant 3-1 lead.
From there, the set didn’t have much drama as both players held their games but could not break the other and Alcaraz levelled the affairs by winning with the same margin he lost the previous set, 6-4.
The third set
Djokovic managed to avoid being broken in the opening game of the third set but similarly, Alcaraz managed to avoid the same thing in the second game as they remained even stevens with each other in the early exchanges.
However, it would be the older man who blinked first as Djokovic had two save two break points in the third game. He managed to succeed once but faltered in the second as Alcaraz took the lead before extending to a 3-1 advantage.
The decisive moment came in the ninth game of the set as Alcaraz broke Djokovic once again leaving him just one game away from victory, which he duly converted by winning the last game of the night after racing into a 40-0 lead.