Novak Djokovic reached the French Open final after beating a cramping Carlos Alcaraz. The Serbian, who will bid to win a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title on Sunday, faces Norway’s Casper Ruud, who beat Alexander Zverev in the semi-final.
On Saturday, world No 1 Iga Swiatek will compete for a third French Open crown against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. Swiatek is bidding to become the first woman to defend her Roland Garros title since Justine Henin in 2007.
In football, Manchester City will hope to beat Inter Milan in the Champions League final to complete a trophy treble after winning the Premier League and FA Cup titles this season.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 10, 2023:
Djokovic beats Alcaraz
Novak Djokovic reached his seventh French Open final in dramatic circumstances on Friday when world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz suffered “whole body” cramping and tension which torpedoed his challenge.
Djokovic, 36, triumphed in their semi-final 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 to become the oldest man in 93 years to reach the French Open championship match where he will be bidding for a third Roland Garros title and record-setting 23rd men’s Grand Slam crown.
The drama on Friday unfolded just as Djokovic had levelled the third set at 1-1 with the first two sets split but with Alcaraz seemingly in the ascendancy in the sweltering 33-degree Paris heat.
Alcaraz, 16 years Djokovic’s junior, pulled up clutching his right calf.
He forfeited his next service game because he sought treatment courtside before a scheduled change of ends and could not receive a medical timeout for cramping.
As boos and jeers rained down, Djokovic, playing in his 45th Grand Slam semi-final, swept the next five games to open a two sets to one lead.
Alcaraz left the court for a five-minute bathroom break but his physical limitations easily opened the door for Djokovic to coast into his 34th Grand Slam final, having wrapped up 10 of the last 11 games of the semi-final.
“Tough luck for Carlos, the last thing you want is cramping. I feel for him and hope he recovers and comes back very soon,” said 2016 and 2021 champion Djokovic.
“Respect for him in fighting until the end. I told him at the net that he is very young and he will win this many times.”
He added: “He was the better player in the second set. I knew I had to be more aggressive and then match and better his intensity.”
Djokovic will face 2022 runner-up Casper Ruud in Sunday’s championship match where he will have the opportunity to become the first man to win all four Slam titles at least three times.
Manchester City eye treble
Manchester City and Inter Milan clash in Saturday’s Champions League final in Istanbul with the English side, under Pep Guardiola, strongly fancied to win European club football’s biggest prize for the first time.
The match at the 75,000-seat Ataturk Olympic Stadium, kicks off at 10:00pm (1900 GMT) in the Turkish metropolis and brings the curtain down on a season that has stretched almost into mid-June after the long interruption for the World Cup.
City have spent the last decade chasing this trophy having been transformed following an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover in 2008.
Also-rans before Sheikh Mansour arrived, they are now England’s dominant force, fresh from winning a fifth Premier League title in six seasons.
Guardiola, chasing the third Champions League crown of his coaching career, has built a side that is playing arguably the finest football of any team since his great Barcelona of a decade ago.
Now they are through to their second Champions League final in three seasons, two years after losing to Chelsea in Porto, and are hoping to complete a treble after securing the Premier League and FA Cup.
The last English team to win that treble was Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, in 1999.
“We have been good in this competition, but we just need to find a way to win the first one,” said Kevin De Bruyne on Friday.
“If we do it, it would obviously be immense for the players, for the club, and for the fans it would be something amazing.”
Swiatek to face Muchova in final
Reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek will attempt to become the first woman to successfully defend the title in Paris in 16 years on Saturday when she faces surprise finalist Karolina Muchova.
World No 1 Swiatek is bidding for a third Roland Garros crown in four years and fourth Grand Slam title following her 2022 US Open victory.
Justine Henin was the last woman to win back-to-back French Open titles when she captured her third in a row and fourth in total in 2007.
Swiatek, 22, has yet to drop a set in this tournament but will be wary of her Czech opponent who knocked out second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals after recovering from 2-5 and match point down in the final set.
Swiatek’s last-four win over Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil coupled with Sabalenka’s agonising defeat ensured the Pole will remain at number one heading into the grass-court part of the season.
She is the youngest woman since Monica Seles in the early 1990s to reach three French Open finals, while world No 43 Muchova is the fourth lowest ranked player to reach the showpiece match here.
Swiatek, then just 19, was ranked 54 when she lifted the trophy in 2020 – three years after Jelena Ostapenko’s shock triumph. Muchova’s compatriot Renata Tomanova was runner-up in 1976.
It is still early in her career but Swiatek is starting to establish a dominance at Roland Garros best associated with Rafael Nadal, the record 14-time French Open champion.
“Rafa, what he did and what he’s still doing, it’s pretty amazing,” said Swiatek. “I never kind of knew that it’s gonna be possible for me.
“So it was totally out of my reach, if I can say that. And still he played so well so many years, I don’t know if it’s going to be possible for me.”
Seles and Naomi Osaka are the only women to win each of their first four Grand Slam finals.
With a 27-2 record at Roland Garros, Swiatek will be the overwhelming favourite, but Muchova has won all five matches in her career against players in the top three – four of them at Grand Slams.
“It’s nice. I didn’t really even know about this statistic. It just shows me that I can play against them,” said the 26-year-old trying to become the first woman to beat the world No 1 and 2 at a Grand Slam since Svetlana Kuznetsova at the 2009 French Open.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day