Wimbledon Day 12: Alcaraz sets up Djokovic blockbuster final

Top two seeds claim straight-sets victories in semis on Friday

Carlos Alcaraz / Demi-finales Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz and No.2 Novak Djokovic posted straight-sets wins in Friday's Wimbledon semi-finals over Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner, respectively, to book the title showdown everyone has been hoping for.

Here's what happened on Day 12 at the All England Club.

Carlos has all the answers against Daniil

“It’s time to keep dreaming,” said world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, as he became just the third Spanish man in history to make the Wimbledon final with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory against Daniil Medvedev on Friday.

Alcaraz is the eighth active male player to reach the title decider at the All England Club and he’ll face seven-time champion Novak Djokovic for a shot at the trophy.

The Murcia-native is through to a first Wimbledon final, and second at a Grand Slam, having been crowned US Open champion last summer.

Aged 20 years and 72 days, Alcaraz has become the fourth-youngest man in the Open Era to reach the final at Wimbledon.

He is on an 11-match winning streak, that includes a title run on grass at Queen’s and his march to the final at SW19, and will be bidding for his sixth trophy of the season when he takes on Djokovic on Sunday.

“This is a dream for me, playing semi-final here, being able to play a final here in Wimbledon, honestly, I can’t believe it. I’m going to enjoy this amazing moment for me and it’s time to keep dreaming,” said Alcaraz after beating Medvedev for a second time in three meetings.

Alcaraz faced just one break point through the opening two sets, without dropping serve, but the third set alone witnessed a combined five breaks of serve.

“It’s really, really difficult to close the match, it’s never easy. You have to be really, really focused. Daniil obviously didn’t want to lose, he fought until the last ball,” said Alcaraz, who wrapped up the win in under two hours.

“He’s an amazing fighter, runner, player. I had to show my best in that tough moment, I had to play aggressive and be myself all the time. I think that was the key to close that match.”

Alcaraz will square off with Djokovic for a second consecutive Slam and the first time since he suffered severe cramps due to nerves in a Roland-Garros semi-final defeat to the Serb.

“What can I say? Everybody knows the legend he is,” Alcaraz said of Djokovic.

“It’s going to be really, really difficult. But I will fight, that’s myself. I will believe in myself; I will believe that I can beat him here. I saw that he is unbeatable since 2013 I think on this court so it’s going to be a really tough challenge for me, but I’m grateful for this.

“I dreamed since I started playing tennis to play this final, but it’s even more special playing against Novak. It’s a final, it’s not the time to be afraid, it’s not the time to be tired. I will go for it and let’s see what happens.”

Medvedev was playing his first Wimbledon semi-final and paid tribute to Alcaraz, comparing him to tennis’ fabled ‘Big Three’ of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Daniil Medvedev & Carlos Alcaraz / Demi-finales Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

“He's a very strong player,” said the former US Open champion.

“I would say in general to compare like the ‘Big Three’, they're amazing, they win so many Grand Slams, they win so many matches. He's kind of like them. He's still 20. Already has one Grand Slam. Playing great. Been No.1 for many, many weeks.

“At the same time I managed before in my career to beat the best players in the world, including some of the ‘Big Three’. Never beat Roger, but we never played also when I started to be really in the top 10 in a way.

“You have to play your best. You have to play your absolute best. As you say, as I say, I didn't play bad, but I didn't play my absolute best. Against someone like Carlos, Novak, Rafa, you need to be at your best.”

Djokovic adds another record to his name

Djokovic became the first player in history to reach 35 Grand Slam finals, surpassing Chris Evert’s mark of 34, thanks to a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) success over Italian No.8 seed Jannik Sinner.

Facing off one round later than they did at Wimbledon last year when Sinner led by two-sets-to-love before Djokovic turned things around, the pair battled for two hours and 47 minutes on Friday, as the defending champion stormed through to his ninth final at SW19.

“It was a well-fought, straight-set victory. Each set was closer than it appears maybe on the scoreboard,” said Djokovic.

The Serb will be going for an all-time record equalling 24th Grand Slam title on Sunday (joining Margaret Court), after he broke the men’s all-time record by winning Roland-Garros last month.

Novak Djokovic / Demi-finales Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

“Ambition is always the highest for me: always to win the title. It's not changing regardless of the place in history books,” assured the 36-year-old Djokovic.

“Maybe some people think that it would be a huge relief for me winning Roland Garros, being the only men's tennis player with 23 Slams. It's not.

“Pressure is there. It's still very high. I still feel goose bumps and butterflies and nerves coming into every single match. So I'm going to be coming into Sunday's final like it's my first, to be honest.”

Sinner saved 7/9 break points, dropping serve once in each of the opening two sets, but couldn’t convert any of the six break point opportunities he created throughout the match.

The 21-year-old hit 44 winners against 35 unforced errors, but it wasn’t enough to halt Djokovic’s march to history.

“He played a very good match. I obviously tried my best. I felt like I had some chances. I couldn't use them. It was tough,” said Sinner, who was contesting the first major semi-final of his career.

“But I felt actually not, yeah, good on the court. It's for sure tough day, but I'm going to learn about this and hopefully I can improve.”

Jannik Sinner / Demi-finales Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Quote of the day

“I try not to look at the age as a hindrance or a factor that might decide the outcome on the court. On the contrary actually, I feel 36 is the new 26, I guess; it feels good. I just feel a lot of motivation and I’m inspired the tennis that I truly love. So it’s great to be part of this new generation, I love it.”

– The ageless Djokovic is feeling young as he targets a 24th Grand Slam singles title

Novak Djokovic / Demi-finales Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Perfect way to say goodbye

Playing the last Wimbledon of her career, Barbora Strycova advanced to the women’s doubles final alongside Hsieh Su-Wei thanks to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova on Friday.

The Czech 2019 Wimbledon singles semi-finalist and doubles champion came back from maternity leave in April, following a two-year hiatus from the sport – to play a select few tournaments before officially bidding farewell to tennis at the US Open.

Strycova and Hsieh, who won the doubles crown together at the All England Club four years ago, will face Rome champions and No.3 seeds Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens in the final on Sunday.

Hsieh is bidding for a second consecutive Grand Slam doubles trophy, having won Roland-Garros last month alongside Wang Xinyu.

Stat of the day

Novak Djokovic has not lost on Wimbledon Centre Court in 10 years. His win streak on Centre Court currently stands at 45.

Fan of the day