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Carlos Alcaraz dethrones Novak Djokovic in enthralling Wimbledon final

Alcaraz dethrones Djokovic in enthralling Wimbledon final
© Reuters
Carlos Alcaraz ends Novak Djokovic's perennial reign of Wimbledon dominance to win his first SW19 title with an extraordinary five-set triumph on Centre Court.

Carlos Alcaraz ended Novak Djokovic's perennial reign of Wimbledon dominance to win his first SW19 title with an extraordinary five-set triumph on Centre Court.

The world number one recovered from a nightmare start to seal a 1-6 7-6[6] 6-1 3-6 6-4 victory with four hours and 42 minutes on the clock, denying Djokovic a joint-high 24th Grand Slam title, as well as a record-equalling fifth consecutive and eighth Wimbledon crown in spectacular style and adding to his maiden major title at last year's US Open.

Alcaraz's success also ended Djokovic's 10-year unbeaten streak on Centre Court since losing to Andy Murray in the 2013 final, while only Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg have won a men's singles title at Wimbledon at a younger age than the 20-year-old.

Everything that could have gone wrong for Alcaraz did go wrong for the Spaniard in the opening exchanges, as he missed a break point in the first game of the match and was punished to the extreme.

With nerves perhaps setting in, the world number one was unable to work his trusted forehand and made several errors, allowing Djokovic to break twice to storm into a 5-0 lead in the opener.

A hotdog shot from Alcaraz in the third game - which would have given him another break point - also landed just beyond the baseline, but a crisp passing forehand in the sixth game saw him belatedly get on the board.

However, seasoned winner Djokovic showcased his brilliant returning and glided across the court with ease, taking the first set with a simple smash to seal a hold to love.

Alcaraz won just one of his seven points on his second serve during the opening set, but the Spaniard was a man reborn after a quick break and had Centre Court on their feet with a break for a 2-0 lead, as Djokovic sent a forehand just wide after an unfortunate let.

Novak Djokovic holds up the runners-up trophy after losing the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz on July 16, 2023© Reuters

The net tape was also on the champion's side, though, and he broke back straight away in a harsh reality check for Alcaraz and was relishing playing pantomime villain in front of the crowd, many of whom were egging the Spaniard on.

Nevertheless, Alcaraz was winning far more points on the Djokovic serve compared to his nightmarish first set, although he was denied a set point in the 10th game, as Djokovic successfully challenged an out call before holding on a stunning backhand on the stretch.

The holder was hit with an inevitable time violation at 5-4 down in the tie-breaker - having already let a 3-0 lead slip - and he was undone by a stunning backhand winner from Alcaraz to level the match, and the Spaniard responded with the iconic Djokovic ear gesture to the crowd.

The momentum was firmly on Alcaraz's side against a shaken Djokovic, who lost his serve straight away in the third set and once again in the fifth game, saving six break points before coming unstuck after a mammoth 32-point series.

A classy backhand from Alcaraz sealed a thoroughly dominant third set, but as Djokovic started returning more aggressively beyond the baseline in the fourth set, the tables turned and then some.

A fluffed drop shot from Alcaraz gifted Djokovic a break in the fourth game, before the Spaniard picked the worst time to double fault in the ninth, as Djokovic ensured that a classic Wimbledon final would go the distance.

After Alcaraz somehow saved a break point in the second game with defensive play that Djokovic would have been proud of, one of the Spaniard's sumptuous passing forehands saw him draw first blood in the decider, causing Djokovic to smash the net in frustration and pick up a court violation for his troubles.

With the crowd in full voice, Alcaraz thwarted Djokovic's attempts to claw his way back into the fifth set, and on his first Championship point, the world number one witnessed Djokovic send a forehand into the net before collapsing to the lawn to rapturous applause.

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Novak Djokovic reacts at Wimbledon on July 14, 2023
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