Novak Djokovic fought off cramping Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 on Friday in the French Open semi-finals to extend his Grand Slam win streak to 20 matches.

The 22-time champion at the majors was able to finish off a tough match in three and a half hours after the top-ranked Alcaraz suffered cramping or possible injury in his right calf early in the third set.

The top seed went off court after losing the third set to trail two sets to one for treatment on his calf; cramping alone cannot be used as a reason for a medical timeout under the rules.

He was unable to resume his former pace though, as Djokovic ended the afternoon with a victory. which avenged his loss to the youngster at Madrid in 2022. 

“Tough luck for Carlos, at this level the last thing you want is cramps,” Djokovic said.

“I feel sorry for him, I hope he can come back very soon. I told him at the net that he is young and has plenty of time – he will win here many times.”

The veteran added: “We were both at the physical limit towards the end of the second set, I was not feeling fresh at all.

“It was toe-to-toe and one set each. But his cramps in the third set turned it into a different match.

“I tried to stay focused, stay present.

“I saw him struggling but didn’t want to think about what was happening on the opposite side of the net.”

Djokovic would seize the top ATP ranking back from the 20-year-old Alcaraz if he wins the title on Sunday against  either fourth seed and 2022 finalist Casper Ruud or German Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic moved into his second Paris final; he has won two of his previous six.

Main photo:- French Open 2023 Day 13 Novak Djokovic celebrates as he wins Men’s Semi-Final by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd