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Carlos Alcaraz outlasts Novak Djokovic to claim his first Wimbledon title

In a Final for the ages, it is Carlos Alcaraz who stands tallest

Day Fourteen: The Championships - Wimbledon 2023 Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Earlier this Championship, Novak Djokovic warned the rest of the tennis world that try as they might, beating him “ain’t happening.”

Well, it happened.

Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz did just that on Sunday, defeating second-seeded Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to claim his first Wimbledon title in a Final for the ages.

Djokovic got off to a scorching start, winning the first set 6-1 and sending an early message to Alcaraz that it could be a quick dismissal from Centre Court. But the 20-year-old battled back, winning the second set in a tiebreak to level the match and using yet another beautiful drop shot in the process:

The highlight of the match was a marathon fifth game in the third set, which saw 32 points, 13 deuce points, and lasted nearly 27 minutes. Alcaraz finally broke Djokovic again, putting him on a double-break in the third set. He broke Djokovic for a third time in the set, to take the third set 6-1 and go up two sets to one.

And put Djokovic on the ropes.

The fourth set began after an extended break which saw both players retire to the locker room, but when it resumed Alcaraz kept the pressure on and appeared the stronger of the two players. The top seed continued displaying his elite athleticism, prowling the baseline and getting to almost everything Djokovic threw at him.

Meanwhile, Djokovic looked labored, continually stretching out his left leg and hip as the match seemed to get away from him.

But Djokovic would not go away quietly.

He found a way to break Alcaraz in the fifth game of the third set, and held serve in the following game to take a 4-2 lead in the fourth set. He took the fourth set 6-3, after Alcaraz double-faulted twice in the ninth game, pushing the match to a fifth and deciding set.

However, it was Alcaraz who drew the first real blood in the decisive set, breaking Djokovic in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. As Alcaraz wheeled away to pump his right fist to the adoration of the Centre Court crowd, Djokovic slammed his racket against the net post in frustration.

That might have had an impact on the match, as Djokovic spent the next game flexing his right wrist, as Alcaraz quickly won the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead in the fifth. The 20-year-old kept serving to Djokovic’s forehand, and the defending champion struggled to find the touch on each return.

The competitors traded holds, with Alcaraz serving out the eighth game with a rocket of an ace to take a 5-3 lead in the decisive set. Djokovic needed to hold serve to avoid defeat. Once more the defending champion was up to the task as he won the ninth game to make it 5-4 Alcaraz in the fifth set, but Alcaraz was one hold away from the title.

Alcaraz displayed his complete arsenal in the next game, winning a point on a drop shot/lob combination, followed by an incredible backhand on a volley. With King Felipe VI of Spain looking on, Alcaraz closed in on the title.

Finally, after over four hours, it was celebration time:

An all-time classic, indeed.

The victory is the second Grand Slam title for Alcaraz, who will retain his No. 1 ranking in the world thanks to the title. It also breaks a run of four-straight titles at Wimbledon at Djokovic, and ends his dream of an in-season Grand Slam.

Perhaps a rematch in New York City in a few weeks awaits?