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Alcaraz: 'I'm Going To Be A Great Player On Grass'

  • Posted: Jul 03, 2022

Alcaraz: ‘I’m Going To Be A Great Player On Grass’

Spaniard lost to Sinner in the fourth round

Despite losing to Jannik Sinner in the fourth round on Sunday, Carlos Alcaraz believes that the grass-court experience he has gained at Wimbledon will greatly benefit him in the future.

The 19-year-old Spaniard, who was making just his second appearance at The Championships, downed Lan-Lennard Struff, Tallon Griekspoor and Oscar Otte as he brought his all-court game to the lawns in London.

“I felt really good here at Wimbledon playing on grass,” Alcaraz said in his post-match press conference. “I got a lot of experience playing on grass. Now I’m thinking that I could be a great player on grass. Next year I hope to play some tournaments before Wimbledon to adapt my game to get more used to playing here. But I would say I’m going to be a great player here on grass.”

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Alcaraz’s clash against Sinner on Centre Court pitted two of the brightest talents on the ATP Tour against each other. In a heavy-hitting clash, it was the 19-year-old Italian who advanced in the youngest match (in terms of combined age) at Wimbledon in the fourth round or later since 17-year-old Boris Becker defeated 21-year-old Henri Leconte in the quarter-finals in 1985.

Alcaraz is excited by the prospect of a long-running rivalry with Sinner, with the former Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champions now locked at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

“I hope so,” Alcaraz said when asked about a rivalry with Sinner. “I’m going to try to be one of the best tennis players in the world for many years. Obviously Jannik is one of the best tennis players in the world as well. For sure he’s going to be in the top for many years.

“I hope to have a good rivalry with him. We hope to fight for the best tournaments in the world and the best moments in the world together.”

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Alcaraz has enjoyed a standout 2022. The 19-year-old has captured a joint Tour-leading four titles, including two ATP Masters 1000 crowns, while in April he became the youngest player to crack the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since Rafael Nadal in 2005.

However, the Spaniard admitted he struggled to find his best level when needed against Sinner, with his nerves playing a part in a disappointing afternoon.

“[At the] start [I] was really nervous. Playing on Centre Court is not easy for me,” said Alcaraz, who is 35-5 on the season. “Jannik handled it better than me, the nerves and the pressure. I was trying to get better, trying to think [about] what was happening… I was struggling a lot with my serve and couldn’t return well.

“After the third set I had chances to break to be up in the fourth, but I couldn’t take the chances. I think the second break point he had, he broke me. It was tough to come back in the fourth being a break down. I couldn’t take the chances. That’s tough.”

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Steady Djokovic Pulls Away Late, Awaits Sinner In QFs

  • Posted: Jul 03, 2022

Steady Djokovic Pulls Away Late, Awaits Sinner In QFs

Serbian stays on course for fourth straight Wimbledon title

With a pair of impressive grass-court win streaks on the line Sunday in the Wimbledon fourth round, Novak Djokovic extended his run to 25 consecutive victories on the surface. He ended the perfect 8-0 grass season of Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory on Centre Court to bring the Dutchman’s dream Grand Slam debut to a close.

The top-seeded Djokovic was challenged by his opponent’s powerful serve and multi-faceted forehand, but showed his championship pedigree by locking down with his baseline game to produce a brilliant response to his second dropped set of the tournament.

“I knew coming into the match that it was always going to be a tough, challenging matchup against Tim, who I’ve never faced before,” Djokovic said in his post-match presser. “I watched him play. He’s got a really good game for grass, which he proved today. [It] was a very good fight, especially in the first two sets.

“But overall I think I’ve played very well, very solid from back of the court. I got into his service rhythm, started reading his serve better in the third and fourth sets.”

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After van Rijthoven fought off four break points to serve out the second set, sending Djokovic slipping to the turf with well-disguised hitting, the Serbian raced to a 5-0 lead in the third to re-estabish himself as the dominant force in the contest. He made just two unforced errors in the third set as he found his groove on return, eliminating the free points that served to boost van Rijthoven’s confidence in the early stages.

Attacking the Dutchman’s backhand corner, Djokovic secured an instant break in the fourth set to quell any thoughts of a turnaround. Ever the perfectionist, he let out a roar of frustration after a rare miss later in the set before he finished the match with ease after two hours, 37 minutes.

“I just really am pleased with the way I closed out the match,” Djokovic added. “I lost the rhythm on my serve a little bit towards the end of the match, but overall just a good fight and really challenging match for me on grass.”

Djokovic’s 25 straight grass wins — all of which have come at Wimbledon, where he is a three-time defending champion — are second all-time. He broke a tie with Rod Laver with Sunday’s result, but still trails Roger Federer’s 65 consecutive grass victories, achieved from 2003-08.

The Serbian will seek to extend that win streak on Tuesday against 10th seed Jannik Sinner. After scoring his first career grass-court win in the opening round, the Italian has started to look at home on the London lawns. He did not drop serve in a 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 win over Carlos Alcaraz earlier on Sunday.

Djokovic won the lone previous ATP Head2Head match between the pair 6-4, 6-2 last year at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Looking ahead to their quarter-final meeting, Djokovic was full of praise for his next opponent.

“He’s maturing a lot on the big stage. I think he doesn’t feel too much pressure on the big stage,” Djokovic said of Sinner. “He’s very solid. He has every shot in his game: serve, return, forehand, backhand. He’s constantly putting pressure on opponents.

“I kind of see a little bit of myself in his game, as well, from back of the court, playing flat backhands, constantly staying on the back of the line, trying to put pressure on opponents.”

As Djokovic bids for his seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title, he is bracing for his toughest challenge of the fortnight.

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Cabal/Farah Cruise To Wimbledon QF Spot

  • Posted: Jul 03, 2022

Cabal/Farah Cruise To Wimbledon QF Spot

Defending champs Mektic/Pavic, top seeds Ram/Salisbury also advance

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah enjoyed a comprehensive triumph on Sunday at Wimbledon to reach the quarter-finals at the grass-court major for the third consecutive time.

The Colombian sixth seeds, who lifted the trophy at SW19 in 2019, broke Radu Albot and Nikoloz Basilashvili four times to seal a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 third-round victory. Cabal and Farah’s opponents in the London quarter-finals will be 13th seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni or all-American duo Denis Kudla and Jack Sock.

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Things weren’t so straightforward for Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. The second seeds did manage to keep their defence of their 2021 title alive, but not without a scare along the way.

The all-Croatian team regained its composure in a decisive fifth set to edge Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara with a 6-4, 7-6(6), 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 third-round victory. Mektic and Pavic appeared to be cantering to the quarter-finals when they led Glasspool and Heliovaara by two-sets-to-love on Court 12, but an inspired comeback from the British-Finnish pairing turned a comfortable afternoon for the second seeds into a three-hour, 14-minute epic.

The 13-time tour-level titlists Mektic and Pavic, who are chasing their third consecutive crown on grass after triumphs at The Queen’s Club and Eastbourne, carved out 15 break point opportunities in the match but converted just three. Crucially, however, two of those came in the fifth set, when they broke their opponents’ serve in the fourth and eighth games to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

Top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury also had to dig deep after dropping the opening set to Mallorca Championships winners Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez.

Ram and Salisbury sit at No. 2 and No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, respectively, but the pair is yet to win a tour-level grass-court title. They moved one step closer to doing that at SW19 by rallying to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win against the 16th-seeded Matos and Vega Hernandez

Awaiting Ram and Salisbury in the quarter-finals will be Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

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Federer At Centre Court Celebration: 'I Hope I Can Come Back One More Time'

  • Posted: Jul 03, 2022

Federer At Centre Court Celebration: ‘I Hope I Can Come Back One More Time’

Former World No. 1 hopes to be back playing at Wimbledon next year

Roger Federer joined a parade of former Wimbledon champions on Centre Court Sunday to celebrate the centenary of the famous show court. The Swiss has not competed since his quarter-final run one year ago at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, but was thrilled to be back on the court which has provided many of the best memories of his career.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court,” the 40-year-old said in the on-court ceremony. “It’s great to be here with all the other champions. This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses.”

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Federer recalled his 2001 victory over seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras — his first Centre Court win — as one of his favourite personal highlights.

“He has inspired a lot of us [that are here] today to just try to also be successful here and represent the sport well,” Federer said of the American. “I hope I did that and I hope I can come back here one more time.”

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Two years later, Federer won the first of his eight Wimbledon crowns by defeating Mark Philippoussis in the 2003 final. No man has won more than his eight singles titles at SW19, and this year’s event is the first he has missed at The Championships since his 1999 debut.

“Of course I missed being here [this year as a player],” he said. “I would have loved to be here. I knew walking out here last year it was going to be a tough year ahead. Maybe I didn’t think it was going to take me this long to come back but the knee has been rough on me.

“But I’ve been happy, I’ve been happy at home. It’s been a good year, regardless of tennis. Our kids our fine… I travelled so much for so many years.”

On Sunday, the Swiss was happy to get back on the road to mark the momentous occasion.

“I didn’t know if I should make the trip, but I’m happy standing right here right now,” he said in front of a packed crowd and full Royal Box, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King and Rod Laver joining him on court for the celebrations.

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