Sinner moves step closer to Wimbledon showdown with Alcaraz

LONDON — Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz remain on track for another Grand Slam showdown after they progressed into the quarterfinals of the men’s singles at Wimbledon on Sunday.

Reigning champion Alcaraz was the first to book his last-eight places after he opened up day seven on Centre Court, but had to work hard before he beat Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.


Sinner was second on Court One and aimed to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Jasmine Paolini after she clinched a quarterfinal berth when American opponent Madison Keys retired deep into the third set.

And the world No. 1 did as he safely negotiated Ben Shelton, also from across the pond, by a 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9) score.

It means Sinner and Alcaraz are still on a collision course for the last four in SW19, which would be their 10th meeting overall and fourth at a Grand Slam after 2022 clashes at Wimbledon and the US Open in addition to last month’s epic at Roland Garros.

Alcaraz mentioned his New York battle with the Italian after he downed Humbert, but only as a reference for a remarkable passage of tennis which ended with him clinching the second set.

French Open winner Alcaraz earned the adulation of Centre Court after he twice scrambled across the baseline to return before a third slide along the grass resulted in Humbert sending a simple volley wide to gift the 21-year-old a two-set lead.

While Humbert hit back, breaking three times before a further two occurred in the fourth, third seed Alcaraz dug deep and produced his best to close out victory in three hours.

“The last time I remember that I fall down and recover and get the point at the end was against Jannik Sinner in US Open,” Alcaraz said.

“Yeah, I remember that I fall down, then recovery, and making a passing shot. That is the last time I remember that I got a point like this one.

“As I said on the court, that’s myself fighting every ball. I think that I can reach every ball.

“It doesn’t matter the shot the opponent hit or the place that I’m on the court. I just thinking that I’m going to get it, I’m going to hit another good shot or a passing shot, believing that I’m going to get the point.”

In-form Tommy Paul is up next for Alcaraz after the American claimed a ninth consecutive win on grass with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 triumph over Roberto Bautista Agut.

Sinner produced another accomplished display to beat big-serving Shelton, who sent down 15 aces but was nullified by the Australian Open champion.

The top seed quickly established a two-set lead on Court One, but had to save four set points in a tie-break before Shelton double-faulted to send Sinner through.

Sinner said: “Against big servers, sometimes you have to guess, especially in important moments.

“Tiebreak was tough because I was up 5-2, 5-3. I was ready, I missed a shot. I was 5-6 down. Some momentum change, a small one, but I could lose the third set and then everything can happen in fourth and fifth potentially.

“I’m happy how I handled the situation. It was obviously very, very tough to play against him, one of the best servers we have on tour, very aggressive player.”

Next up for Sinner is a reunion with Daniil Medvedev, with the Russian only on court for 40 minutes before Grigor Dimitrov was forced to retire.

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