The US Open champion arrived in Paris as the favourite to lift the title, and his performances leading into the last-four encounter reinforced that view.
But he never looked fully settled, and was unusually agitated at times in the match.
The smile that lit up the earlier rounds was only occasionally in evidence, while he was often seen shouting at his coaching team.
Winning the second set, after being dominated in the first, looked set to settle the youngster down.
However, he cramped up badly in his right leg in the second game of the set, and forfeited his following service game in order to receive medical attention.
The treatment had little positive impact as he was a lame duck in the third set.
Alcaraz left the court following the third set and returned with slightly improved movement, but he could not dig himself out of the hole as Djokovic wrapped up the win in four sets.
There were questions as to what the problem was, and the 20-year-old conceded nervous tension played a part.
“I have never felt something like I did today,” Alcaraz said. “I have never felt that tension that I did in that match.
“I started the match really nervous. Really good rallies, tough rallies, drop shots, sprints, rallies. It’s a combination of a lot of things. But the main thing, it was the tension that I had all the two first sets.
“I started to cramp in my arm. At the beginning of the third set I started to cramp every part of my body, not only the legs.
“It was really tough for me to move in the third set, and in the fourth let’s say I had a little chance, but it was really tough, my full body started to cramp.”
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Alcaraz admitted being across the net from a 22-time major winner in a Grand Slam semi-final was another contributing factor behind his issues.
“Is not easy to play against Novak,” Alcaraz said. “Of course [he’s] a legend of our sport. If someone says that he gets into the court with no nerves playing against Novak, he lies.
“Playing a semi-final of a Grand Slam, you have a lot of nerves, but even more with facing Novak.
“That’s the truth. Next time that I’m gonna face Novak, I hope to be different, but the nerves will be there.”
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