Carlos Alcalás overcame injury scare on Friday with a landmark victory over Rafael Nadal in a sensational semi-final against Novak Djokovic in Madrid . Alcalás went 0-2 against Nadal but knew he had a chance because his opponents lacked match play. Nadal, who has been out for six weeks with a rib injury, arrived in Madrid with little preparation on clay.

The 19-year-old Alcalás defeated 21-time Grand Slam champion Nadal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in a spectacular quarter-final at the Magic City Stadium. 26th Tour-leading win of the season.

“It means a lot to me, all the hard work I put in every day has paid off today to beat Rafa, the best clay player in history, it means a lot to me,” said Alcaraz, who said he Was the first teenager to beat Nadal on clay.

“The fall in the second set affected me a lot, but when I lost the second set, I went to the bathroom and I believed I could come back, I could do my best, try everything on the pitch, fight to the end A ball, I think that’s the key.”

The first three games were all with serve as opponents, which lasted for more than 20 minutes, and Alcaras eventually led 3-1. Nadal played just one match in that set, with Alcaraz taking the lead.

Alcalás fell while trying to retrieve the ball in the third game of the second set, and he took a long medical timeout to immobilize his ankle at 1-2. Replays showed Alcaraz badly sprained his ankle.

With Nadal leading 3-1, the seventh seed was broken after resuming play, but then another interruption was related to someone in the crowd.

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After a long pause, Nadal ran off with the set, as Alcaraz’s were noticeably limited.

Alcalás took a toilet break and was even better at the start of the tiebreaker to lead 3-1. That’s all he needed to pull off a victory and a thrilling encounter with Djokovic in two hours and 28 minutes.

– “Awesome for our sport” –

“Of course I’m focused on tomorrow. I’ll text (David) Nalbandian to see how he does it. I’ll fight and let’s see what happens tomorrow,” joked Alcaraz said he was referring to Miomir Kekmanovic’s coach David Nalbandian, who beat the pair Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer in the lead to Madrid in 2007. On the way to the championship.

Djokovic reached the semifinals in Madrid for the seventh time, comfortably beating Poland’s Hubert Hurkatz 6-3, 6-4 for his 30th career victory in the Spanish capital.

The world number one will face Alcaraz for the first time and has nothing but praise for the young Spaniard, with whom he practiced for a while earlier this week.

“I love watching him play, like so many other players on the tour. He’s been fantastic for our sport without a doubt. I think we have a young player who is doing such a good job and will be great for the team. It’s nice to breathe new life into the world of tennis,” Djokovic said.

“Seeing that and knowing he’s a very good guy, very humble and has good values, it’s a perfect combination.”

Djokovic started his quarterfinals with a break, and that was all he needed to grab the opening 33 minutes.

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With Djokovic taking control of the game again, Hulkac dropped his serve in the fifth game of the second set.

The Polish No. 12 seed saved two match points 5-3 on his own serve, forcing Djokovic to serve in the win. The 34-year-old Serb had no trouble at the end of the game, reaching the final four with 81 minutes of success.

Djokovic has not played much in 2022 as his vaccination status prevents him from playing in Australia or entering the United States.

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His victory on Friday was only his seventh of the year, and he will try to reach his second final of the season, finishing runner-up in Belgrade last month.

Djokovic was from the last 16 games when Andy Murray pulled out with a stomach problem.

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