Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic meet in a blockbuster French Open semi-final at Roland Garros on Friday in a clash which could define the balance of power in men’s tennis in the seasons ahead.
AFP Sport looks at what’s on the line:
Streaks at risk
The last three Grand Slam tournaments have been won by Djokovic or Alcaraz. Djokovic won Wimbledon last July and the Australian Open in January and he comes in with a 19-match Grand Slam tournament winning streak since his last loss to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals in Paris last year.
Alcaraz captured the US Open title last September, when Djokovic was absent due to hs refusal to be vaccinated, but then withdrew from the Australian Open. He comes into Friday’s match on a 12-match streak at the Slams.
If Alcaraz defeats Djokovic on Friday, he will remain as world number one when the new rankings are released on Monday.
A win for Djokovic will not only put him one victory from a record-setting 23rd men’s major title but also a return to the top of the rankings.
Age factor –
Alcaraz is the youngest man to reach the Roland Garros semi-finals since a 20-year-old Djokovic in 2007.
Alcaraz, also now 20, is attempting to become the youngest finalist and champion in Paris since Rafael Nadal won the title at the same age in 2006.
If 36-year-old Djokovic makes Sunday’s final, he will be the second-oldest man to do so in the history of the 98-year-old tournament. Victory would make him the oldest ever champion.
Djokovic’s numbers game
Djokovic is in his 12th French Open semi-final with a 6-5 record and is attempting to reach his seventh final. He’s also aiming to increase his men’s record to 34 Grand Slam tournament finals and win a record 23rd major title.
Victory on Sunday would make him the first man in history to win each Grand Slam tournament at least three times.
Margaret Court, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams have all accomplished the feat in women’s tennis.
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