Novak Djokovic into Madrid Open semi-finals but Rafael Nadal knocked out by Carlos Alcaraz

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Novak Djokovic beats Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets to reach last four in Madrid; Rafael Nadal knocked out by fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who records his first career win over the 21-time Grand Slam champion; Alcaraz to face Djokovic in semi-finals on Saturday
Novak Djokovic is through to the semi-finals of the Madrid Open – but Rafael Nadal’s pursuit of a sixth title at the event is over.

Novak djokovic

Top seed Djokovic defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4 to set up a potential clash with Nadal, only for Nadal to then lose 6-2 1-6 6-3 to fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz as he was beaten by a teenager on clay for the first time.

Djokovic and Nadal would have met for the 59th time on the ATP Tour, continuing a rivalry the Serb currently leads 30-28 having won their previous encounter, in the semi-finals of last year’s French Open.

But Alcaraz played spoiler to end Nadal’s run in the 21-time grand slam winner’s first event since returning from a six-week lay-off following a rib injury sustained at the Indian Wells event in March.

Alcaraz recorded his first victory over Nadal at the third attempt, with the 19-year-old beaten by the 35-year-old in the semi-finals at Indian Wells earlier this year and in the last 32 of the Madrid Open in 2021.

Nadal won the Madrid Open in 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017.

Three-time champion Djokovic, victorious at this event in 2011, 2016 and 2019, eased to victory over Polish player Hurkacz in Madrid on Friday.

The 34-year-old converted his fourth match point to win in an hour and 20 minutes and extend his unblemished record against Hurkacz to 4-0.

Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils in his first match before receiving a walkover in his second as Andy Murray withdrew due to illness.

Nadal beat Miomir Kecmanović before then overcoming David Goffin on Thursday after saving four match points, saying he was inspired by Real Madrid’s comeback against Manchester City in the Champions League.

But his tournament was ended by Alcaraz, who is eyeing his fourth title of 2022 following previous triumphs in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona.

Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas outlasted sixth seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 2-6 6-4 to seal his spot in the semi-finals, where he will face either defending champion Alexander Zverev or Felix Auger-Aliassime.

“It wasn’t easy playing him, it was tough to predict what’s coming next from him,” Tsitsipas, who won the Monte Carlo Masters last month, said.

The win was also Tsitsipas’ 27th of the season — more than any other player on the ATP Tour — as he improved his claycourt record in 2022 to 10-1.

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