Shropshire Star

Carlos Alcaraz ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ on Court One during quarter-final win

The defending champion won 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-2 to set up a repeat of last year’s semi-final with Daniil Medvedev.


Carlos Alcaraz admitted to not feeling comfortable on Court One but was happy to win when not at his best after he roared back to down Tommy Paul and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

World number 13 Paul entered this last-eight tie on a nine-match winning streak and after he had taken the Queen’s Club crown from Alcaraz last month.

It translated into an exceptional start with Paul able to take the opener and register an early break in the second set before three-time grand slam champion Alcaraz responded in trademark fashion.

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning a point
Carlos Alcaraz is through to the semi-finals (Aaron Chown/PA)

Alcaraz got his serve back on track and smashed his way through to the last four at the All England Club with 36 winners helping clinch a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory.

It will be Daniil Medvedev up next, not Jannik Sinner, after the Russian beat the world number one in five sets to book a repeat of last year’s semi-final.

“I felt the difference playing on Centre Court and on Court One. The grass is different,” Alcaraz said.

“Obviously I feel like it was more sand on Court One than Centre Court. I don’t want to say holes.

“There were more matches on Court One than Centre Court, I had to adapt my game on that.

“I didn’t feel comfortable at all playing on Court One with the conditions on it. As I said, I had to adapt my game on it. I tried to play my best tennis on it.

“Yeah, I think at the end I found it, I found my best tennis and my good tennis just to feel comfortable on it.”

The form of Paul and his 2-2 record with Alcaraz increased anticipation around this clash, which did not disappoint with a particular close first two sets.

After Alcaraz failed to convert three early break points, when he did duly move ahead in Paul’s next service game, the 12th seed broke back immediately.

Carlos Alcaraz plays the ball over the net
Carlos Alcaraz found his form eventually (Aaron Chown/PA)

Soon after an extraordinary sixth game occurred, which contained four break points for Paul, nine deuces and lasted more than 18 minutes, but Alcaraz scrambled to another hold.

Further opportunities followed on each serve and when a tie-break seemed inevitable, Paul sensed his moment and a powerful backhand earned a 72-minute first set.

When Paul won eight of the first nine points at the start of the second set, Alcaraz had been broken again, but the Spaniard showed the response of a champion.

A pair of destructive forehands helped him get the set back on serve before a first ace of the match, clocked at 130mph, was backed up by two more in a row before Alcaraz move 4-3 up with a break.

Alcaraz had flipped the momentum and another ace followed before the world number three levelled up.

With rival Sinner starring down the barrel on Centre Court, breaks were exchanged early in the third and while Paul had produced an exceptionally high level during the first two sets, his radar started to lack direction.

Paul was broken again and even though Alcaraz saved two break points in the sixth game of the set, the 21-year-old had moved up a notch now.

Alcaraz breezed through the fourth set, breaking twice, hitting 10 winners before his seventh ace set up match point, which was sealed at the first time of asking after three hours and 11 minutes.

Carlos Alcaraz shakes hands with Tommy Paul
Carlos Alcaraz shakes hands with Tommy Paul (Aaron Chown/PA)

Third seed Alcaraz referenced the ‘big three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic when he reflected on winning when not at his best.

“I know that there are going to be some matches that I’m not going to find my best tennis even though I have to try to win it,” Alcaraz said.

“I think that’s what the big three did along their career.

“That’s what I’m thinking. When I’m not playing my best tennis, I’m going to try to find solutions just to be a bit better, just to beat the opponent.”

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