MASON, Ohio (AP) — Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic will meet Sunday for the Western & Southern Open title in a rematch of their Wimbledon final.
The top-ranked Alcaraz erased a match point in the second set and rallied past unseeded Hubert Hurkacz 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the first men’s semifinal Saturday.
Then, No. 2 Djokovic defeated Alexander Zverev, the 2021 tournament champ, 7-6 (5), 7-5 to earn a shot at his third title in the U.S. Open tuneup.
Alcaraz won six straight points in the second-set tiebreaker to reach his eighth final of the season. He beat Djokovic last month at Wimbledon to win his second major title and deny the 36-year-old Djokovic his 24th.
Coco Gauff will play for the women’s title Sunday after upsetting top-ranked Iga Swiatek 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4. She will face Karolina Muchova, who overcame No. 2-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2.
Alcaraz, 20, is the youngest Cincinnati finalist since 19-year-old Pete Sampras in 1991. He is trying to become the youngest champion since Boris Becker won at 17 in 1985.
Despite going to a third set in each of his four matches this week, Alcaraz says he’ll be ready for the final.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m playing third sets or long matches, I’m recovering really well,” Alcaraz said. “I feel like I’m going to play the first match of the tournament. I feel great.”
Last week in Toronto, Alcaraz needed two tiebreakers to beat Hurkacz after losing the first set.
“Playing against Hubert is always tough,” Alcaraz said, “We played until the final ball. I was really happy to get that win today. He’s one of the best servers in the tour.”
Djokovic, 36, is the oldest Cincinnati finalist in the professional era, dating to 1968, surpassing 35-year old Ken Rosewell in 1970.
Gauff had never won a set against Swiatek in seven previous meetings. Swiatek, winner of three of the last six Grand Slam titles, survived three match points before the 19-year-old Gauff finally finished off the upset to the delight of a large crowd that loudly supported the American.
“It feels really good,” Gauff said. “It shows that I can be at that level, or compete at that level at least. I’m sure I’m going to face her many more times. I still think that I’m not even to the peak of my game.”
The seventh-seeded Gauff hadn’t won more than four games in a set against Swiatek since their first meeting in Rome in 2021 before winning the tiebreaker Saturday.
“Today I fought to the end,” Swiatek said. “Coco, she’s a great player. This one, she deserved it more. My tank of fuel is pretty empty. I’m happy to have some days off.”
Gauff is the fourth teenager to reach the final in Cincinnati during the professional era and first since Vera Zvonareva in 2004. The last teenager to win the title was 17-year-old Linda Tuero in 1968.