French Open 2023: Djokovic Beats Alcaraz To Enter Final, Meets Ruud Next

Djokovic is hoping to leave Roland Garros with his third French Open title and his 23rd Slam overall, the most for a male player.

Djokovic celebrates his win over Alcaraz in Paris on Friday.

Novak Djokovic used every bit of his experience, relentlessness and fitness to beat a cramping Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 at the French Open on Friday and move one win away from a record 23rd Grand Slam title. (More Tennis News)

The No. 1-ranked Alcaraz produced one particularly brilliant shot — one that went viral within minutes and could be talked about for years — en route to claiming the second set of what, at the time, was a closely contested and thrilling showdown.

But in the end, this highly anticipated matchup was as anti-climatic as can be.

That’s because early in the third set, after nearly 2 1/2 hours of exertion and tension in 85-degree heat at Court Philippe Chatrier, Alcaraz’s body began to lock up. First, his hand began to cramp. Then his legs. And so, at 1-all, Alcaraz needed to take a break and get treated by a trainer. Because it was not a changeover, Alcaraz was required to forfeit the following game and fell behind 2-1.

From there, it was pretty much all over. Djokovic, who is 36, was able to cruise to the finish against Alcaraz, who is 20, making for the widest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam semifinal since 1991.

Score one for the old guys.

It was the 45th Grand Slam semifinal for Djokovic and the second for Alcaraz.

“I feel for him. I feel sorry. ... I hope he can recover very soon,” Djokovic said. “I told him at the net, he knows how young he is. He has plenty of time ahead of him. He’s going to win this tournament, I’m sure, many, many times.”

Not this time.

Instead, it is No. 3 Djokovic, who will meet No. 4 Casper Ruud of Norway. 

Ruud — a two-time major runner-up last year, including in Paris — defeated Zverev in the second semifinal 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

Djokovic is hoping to leave Roland Garros this year with his third French Open title and his 23rd Slam championship overall, which would break a tie with rival Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in the history of tennis.

Nadal was absent from his favorite tournament this year because of a hip injury.