Novak Djokovic is taking clear steps forward in Madrid. The world number one reached the semi-finals at the Masters in the Spanish capital and showed a sovereign performance in the 6:3, 6:4 against the twelfth seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz. Now a Spanish youngster awaits.

Djokovic will be challenged by the shooting star in the final round. Carlos Alcaraz (19) defeated the old champion Rafael Nadal (35) for the first time in the third Spanish generation duel, although he painfully twisted his foot 6:2, 1:6, 6:3. Alcaraz is the first player under 20 to defeat Nadal on clay. Spain’s King Felipe was also thrilled.

Djokovic is taking it easy. “I don’t care who is on the other side of the net,” the Serb said. “I just want to get better and better every day. I’m just focusing on myself at the moment.”

Djokovic’s goal since his comeback in early April has been to get back to his top level for the French Open in Paris starting May 22. At Roland Garros, the 34-year-old is the defending champion. At the Australian Open in January, the 20-time Grand Slam winner was not allowed to compete as an unvaccinated athlete.