This is the match the tennis world has been waiting for: No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz vs. No. 3 Novak Djokovic.
They will play Friday in the French Open semifinals — just their second head-to-head matchup. It is a showdown between one man, Djokovic, who is 36 years old and owns 22 Grand Slam titles, and another, Alcaraz, who is 20 and owns one major trophy.
The other men’s semifinal will follow: No. 4 Casper Ruud of Norway vs. No. 22 Alexander Zverev of Germany. Neither has won a Slam title, but both have come close.
Ruud was the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open and to Alcaraz at the U.S. Open last year. Zverev was the runner-up to Dominic Thiem at the U.S. Open in 2020.
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WHEN ARE FRIDAY’S MATCHES? Play begins in Djokovic-Alcaraz at Court Philippe Chatrier at 2:45 p.m. local time in Paris, which is 8:45 a.m. EDT. That will be followed by Ruud-Zverev. It is an off day in women’s singles.
WHAT HAPPENED THURSDAY? No. 1 Iga Swiatek made it to Saturday’s women’s final, as everyone expected, although she might have had a little more trouble than anticipated. She fell behind in each set before beating No. 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 7-6 (7). Far more stunning was the result of the other women’s semifinal, in which unseeded Karolina Muchova saved a match point and reeled off the last five games to eliminate No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5. WHAT IS COMING SATURDAY? In the women’s final, Swiatek, a 22-year-old from Poland, aims for her fourth Grand Slam title and third at Roland Garros. It also would be her second in a row in Paris. Muchova, a 26-year-old from the Czech Republic, will be participating in a major final for the first time. At No. 43, she is the fourth-lowest-ranked woman to make it to the title match at the French Open.
BETTING GUIDE Alcaraz is a minus-205 money-line pick in the semifinals against Djokovic, who is listed at plus-168, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Zverev (minus-118) and Ruud (minus-102) are almost even. Looking ahead to the women’s final on Saturday, Swiatek is an overwhelming favorite, listed at minus-1000, while Muchova is at plus-640. Swiatek and Alcaraz were the pre-tournament favorites.