When Novak Djokovic finally beat No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz Sunday night in the Western & Southern Open final, he fell on his back in relief. The match was the longest in Western & Southern Open history, lasting 3 hours, 49 minutes and featured sensational play from the world’s top-ranked players battling for the Rookwood Cup.
In a rematch of the Wimbledon final earlier this summer that was equally as thrilling, Djokovic shook off match point in the second set after struggling in the opening set with the extreme heat on the court and Alcaraz, who found his serve after struggling earlier in the tournament. Alcaraz landed some incredible shots in a third set that was pure chaos. The 20-year-old fought through four match points to force a tiebreak before Djokovic finally pulled away.
Djokovic, who won his third Western & Southern Open, said Sunday’s title clash had the feel of a Grand Slam final and was one of his all-time great matches.
“Definitely one of the toughest matches I’ve ever played in my life. Regardless of what tournament, what category, what player,” Djokovic said. “Maybe I could compare it to (Rafael) Nadal finals in Australian Open, 2012.”
Djokovic beat Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in the 2012 Australian Open final in a marathon match that lasted 5 hours, 53 minutes.
“The feeling I have on court reminds me a bit of when I was facing Nadal when we were both at the prime of our careers,” Djokovic said of Alcaraz. “Just one of the most exciting and toughest matches mentally, emotionally and physically matches that I’ve had in my career.”
Here’s what social media thought of Djokovic outlasting Alcaraz.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reactions: Djokovic tops Alcaraz in Western & Southern Open thriller