Novak Djokovic to face Carlos Alcaraz in Cincinnati Open final

Novak Djokovic will have a chance to avenge his Wimbledon final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz when the pair meet in the Cincinnati Open final.

World number one Alcaraz saved match point before going on to beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in Saturday’s semi-final.

Then the world number two Djokovic overcame Germany’s Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 to set up the Alcaraz match.

“It’s the ultimate challenge at the moment for me,” Djokovic said.

Spain’s Alcaraz, 20, beat the Serb in five sets in last month’s Wimbledon final and has won two of their three meetings to date.

“It’s a very good test prior to the US Open,” Djokovic, 36, said. “Obviously different conditions.

“Now it’s going to be the first encounter on a hard court.

“It’s still facing the top player of the world now who is in form. It’s the biggest challenge I could get, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Alcaraz’s victory over Hurkacz means he will be playing in his eighth final of 2023. He is also the youngest Cincinnati Open finalist since a 19-year-old Pete Sampras in 1991.

At 36, Djokovic could become the oldest Cincinnati champion in the Open Era – Ken Rosewall was 35 when he won in 1970.

He has won the title twice previously, in 2018 and 2020.

Djokovic is playing in his first tournament on American soil since 2021 after missing last year’s US Open and other tournaments because of his Covid vaccination status.

He will bid for a 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open, which gets under way on 28 August.

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