Carlos Alcaraz draws line in sand discussing potential Novak Djokovic matchup

Alcaraz and Djokovic seemed destined for a Australian Open showdown.

Jonathan Di Maggio/GettyImages
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Dominant. What better word describes the way Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic have looked in the last two rounds? After each dropped a set in the second round, neither has been challenged since. During most of 2023, many tennis fans clamored for a tournament final that would feature Alcaraz and Djokovic. The first Grand Slam of 2024 might bring that.

Alcaraz defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets in the fourth round on Monday. The score of 6-4 6-4 6-0 seemed even closer than the match was. Alcaraz toyed with his opponent, worked the crowd into a frenzy with his showmanship, and swept Kecmanovic from Melbourne.

The same happened in Novak Djokovic's fourth-round match on Sunday. Djokovic was even more dominant than Alcaraz was in the fourth round as Djokovic destroyed Adrian Mannarino 6-0 6-0 6-3. Djokovic finished with 17 aces against Mannarino's single one. Had Djokovic and Alcaraz played any other opponent in the fourth round other than who they faced, they would have won as well.

Australian Open looks to be heading toward a Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz final

Unless Alcaraz was facing Djokovic. Or Djokovic facing Alcaraz. If that were the case, all bets are off (betting might be bad anyway, though I am not judging).

After the match, Carlos Alcaraz was asked how he thought he played. His response differed from what he said after his third-round match when Alcaraz only gave himself a "7 or 8" out of 10. After defeating Miomir Kecmanovic, Alcaraz said "everything" was working.

Alcaraz also said, "“I pushed (Kecmanovic) to the limit in every ball, in every point....I’m feeling better and better every day. Every match I’ve played here in Rod Laver I’ve been feeling more comfortable."

Carlos Alcaraz had said basically the same thing during Wimbledon last year, too. Prior to playing the grass-court major, Alcaraz had not played much on grass. But he found his footing quickly and defeated Djokovic in five sets in the final.

Alcaraz compared this year's Australian Open to last year's Wimbledon post-match saying, "Probably the process could be similar. A court that I didn’t play so much here in Rod Laver, I didn’t play so much as well. Probably the process could be the same or similar...Hopefully the same as Wimbledon. Yeah, could be the same."

Both Novak Djokovic's and Carlos Alcaraz's competition goes up a tick in the quarterfinal matches, though. Top-seeded Djokovic will play 12th-seeded Taylor Fritz on Tuesday. Second-seeded Alcaraz will take on sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev on Wednesday. Fritz has never beaten Djokovic in eight matches. Zverev leads the head-to-head over Alcaraz 4-3.

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