|Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Date: Friday, 9 June Time: From 14:00 BST|
|Protection: Dwell textual content and radio commentary on Novak Djokovic v Carlos Alcaraz throughout BBC Radio 5 Sports activities Additional, the BBC Sport web site and app from 13:45, adopted by Casper Ruud v Alexander Zverev not earlier than 16:30|
From the second the French Open draw was made virtually a fortnight in the past, the tennis world licked its lips on the prospect of 1 blockbuster match.
The countdown in direction of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, towards Spanish world primary Carlos Alcaraz was on.
On Friday, the 2 males – at reverse ends of their careers however in the identical gorgeous type – lastly go head-to-head at a Grand Slam once they meet within the Roland Garros semi-finals.
“That is the match that lots of people wish to see,” mentioned 36-year-old Djokovic, who’s bidding for a 3rd French Open title and a males’s report twenty third main.
Alcaraz, 20, gained his first Grand Slam title on the US Open in September and is contesting his maiden semi-final on the Paris clay.
“For the reason that draw got here out, everybody was anticipating that match. Myself as properly. I’ve actually needed to play this match,” Alcaraz mentioned.
The pair have lengthy been thought-about the principle contenders to elevate the Coupe des Mousquetaires on Sunday, even earlier than 14-time champion Rafael Nadal withdrew with a hip damage.
Whoever wins within the final 4 will likely be favorite to beat the victor of Friday’s different semi-final between Norwegian fourth seed Casper Ruud and Germany’s twenty second seed Alexander Zverev.
Duel the tennis world has been ready for
When Djokovic’s title popped out of the French Open laptop in the identical half of the draw as Alcaraz, there have been murmurs amongst these sitting within the Roland Garros ceremony.
Djokovic might have gained 5 of the previous seven majors he has performed, however he’s seeded third in Paris after having damage points within the build-up.
That meant he would both land in Alcaraz’s half and probably face him within the final 4, or find yourself on the facet of second seed Daniil Medvedev and never in a position to face the highest seed till the ultimate.
In fact, the unpredictable nature of sport means issues hardly ever pan out as anticipated within the attracts.
However the nice type of Djokovic and Alcaraz – each dropping only one set thus far – has ensured the blockbuster semi-final will happen.
“It is positively the largest problem for me thus far within the match,” mentioned Djokovic, who gained the Roland Garros title in 2016 and 2021.
“If you wish to be the most effective, you must beat the most effective. He is positively a man to beat right here. I am trying ahead to that.”
Djokovic and Alcaraz, who has gained 4 of the eight tournaments he has competed on this season, have been two of the standout gamers on the boys’s tour this season.
Nonetheless, duels between the pair – both head-to-head and even being current within the largest tournaments – have been uncommon.
“We performed solely as soon as in Madrid final 12 months, 7-6 within the third for him. We have not performed since,” mentioned Djokovic.
“A lot of the tournaments this 12 months we weren’t in the identical draw, however right here we’re.”
Additional spice to the event is offered by the world primary rating being on the road.
Alcaraz will stay on the high if he beats Djokovic, with the Serb needing to win the match to reclaim the place.
Will youth or expertise show key?
Whereas the pair’s outcomes at Roland Garros this 12 months have been equally very good, there’s a big gulf between them when it comes to profession expertise.
Djokovic is showing in his forty fifth main semi-final, with solely Roger Federer (46) enjoying extra, and is aiming to eclipse Nadal because the oldest French Open males’s champion.
Alcaraz, who turned 20 at first of Could, would develop into the youngest Roland Garros finalist since a 20-year-old Nadal gained the title in 2006, and hopes youth will likely be an even bigger issue than pedigree.
“It is going be his forty fifth semi-final of a Grand Slam, that is going to be my second,” he mentioned.
“I might say the expertise is healthier in that time, however I am not going take into consideration that.”