Fans on hand at Rolland Garros were witnessing an intense battle between two of the top three tennis players in the world with Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic going head-to-head in the French Open semifinal match on Friday. The matchup was living up to the hype until Alcaraz suffered cramps. After that, Djokovic pulled away to defeat him 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
With the victory, Djokovic is moving on to the final Sunday with a chance to win his second French Open in three years and the third of his career. Crucially, it's also a shot for Djokovic to win his record 23rd major. With a win, he would tie Serena Williams' with 23 majors. Only Margaret Court, at 24, has more than them.
Sunday will also be the 34th Grand Slam final appearance for Djokovic, which ties him with Chris Evert for the in the Open Era by a man or woman. He will play the winner of Casper Rudd and Alexander Zverev.
After two grueling sets in the Paris heat, which the competitors split, Alcaraz went down with an apparent leg injury early in the first set. The match had to be paused while Alcaraz got treated for what looked like cramps, and when he returned, his mobility was clearly limited.
Although he was all over the court early in the match, Alcaraz couldn't get near some shots after the injury break, and Djokovic took advantage. The Serbian took the third set, 6-1, with relative ease and left Alcaraz in the dust from there.
Until Alcaraz began struggling physically, the match was as good as advertised. Djokovic took the first set, 6-3, and he was matching the 20-year-old Alcaraz's quickness on the clay court.
The second set was simply a showcase of elite tennis. Alcaraz and Djokovic exchanged haymakers time and time again. Alcaraz pulled off what might have been the shot of the match when he chased down one of Djokovic's shots toward the end line and executed a no-look shot that just stayed in bounds.
Those kinds of shots had the fans buzzing at Roland Garros, but the match quickly became one-way traffic early in the third set when cramps began to hamper Alcaraz. Following the third set, Alcaraz received more thorough medical attention, but he was still not 100% healthy.
As a result, Djokovic went on a streak in which he won 11 straight games.