Home Sport Carlos Alcaraz storms back to beat Tommy Paul and edges closer to...

Carlos Alcaraz storms back to beat Tommy Paul and edges closer to Wimbledon repeat

Carlos Alcaraz dropped another set en route to victory at Wimbledon. The defending champion has learned to win ugly this fortnight.

And that was no different on Tuesday as he booked his spot in the semi-final with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-2 result over Tommy Paul, despite hitting 37 unforced errors.

He will now face Daniil Medvedev in a repeat of last year’s semi-final as he edges ever closer to a repeat of his 2023 title run.

Alcaraz and Paul came into the quarters with a level 2-2 record against each other. The American was on a nine-match winning streak after being crowned the Queen’s Club champion while Alcaraz was 11 matches unbeaten at SW19, lifting the trophy last year. But something had to give.

It was clear that neither man wanted to snap their respective streaks. They broke each other early on before the world No. 3 came through a marathon, 18-minute game, saving four break points. But Alcaraz couldn’t do anything with his own opportunities to take the lead – he went zero for seven on break points.

Paul kept believing and, after 72 minutes, he broke Alcaraz to take the first set 7-5 with a winner, perfectly passing the Spaniard who had been drawn into the net. The 12th seed started to run away with it, maintaining his momentum to take a 2-0 lead in the second.

But Alcaraz kicked into another gear and Paul played a sloppy game to lose his advantage. He was broken again, throwing in two double faults to trail 3-4, and the reigning champion levelled the score with almost two hours on the clock. Neither man could pull ahead in the third – there were three successive breaks to start with Alcaraz emerging in the lead.

The 21-year-old was still struggling to convert break points. He blew five in a single game and Paul put him under pressure in another mini-battle. Alcaraz let out a roar of “vamos” when he held on and it propelled him – he reeled off three games in a row to take the third set.

The American started to lose belief going into the fourth, wondering how he was in this position after leading by a set and a break. He challenged one of his shots on a break point but clearly wasn’t confident, sitting down before the result came in. It confirmed that the ball was out, giving Alcaraz the game.

Now dialled in, the Spaniard touched his ear as he put himself within three games of the semis. He clinched the double-break with two passing shot winners and the gift of a Paul unforced error. “It’s almost got the feel of an exhibition,” Tim Henman said in BBC commentary, marvelling at Alcaraz’s free-hitting.

The world No. 3 gave himself three match points with two winners and an ace. And he sealed victory thanks to Paul’s 51st and final unforced error of the day. Alcaraz now faces fifth seed Medvedev and is two wins from defending his crowd.

It’s not the semi-final fans were anticipating as Medvedev knocked out world No. 1 Jannik Sinner in five sets on Tuesday. It was revenge for another heartbreaking defeat in the Australian Open final at the start of the year. And Friday’s semi-final will be another grudge match for Medvedev, who was routined by Alcaraz in last year’s Wimbledon semi-final 6-3 6-3 6-3.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here