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Sinner Beats Alcaraz in a Match Befitting Wimbledon’s Centre Court

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“I believe what we showed today, it’s an important level of tennis, great attitude from each of us,” Sinner said. “There are still so many other players who’re playing incredible tennis. Of course, we’re the 2 youngest in the intervening time. So let’s see. I don’t know in the longer term what’s going to occur. I believe it’s just great for tennis to have also some latest names, latest players.”

This has been a most unusual Wimbledon with the No. 1-ranked Daniil Medvedev and his fellow Russians barred from playing due to war in Ukraine; the brand new No. 2, Alexander Zverev of Germany, out after major ankle surgery; and three other leading grass-court players — Matteo Berrettini of Italy, Marin Cilic of Croatia and Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain — withdrawing after testing positive for the coronavirus.

There have been big windows of opportunity within the draw, and of the 16 players in the lads’s fourth round, only two — Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal — had been to even the semifinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. Sinner will now face Djokovic, the three-time defending champion at Wimbledon, within the quarterfinals after Djokovic defeated Tim van Rijthoven, a late-blooming Dutch wild-card entrant, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, on Sunday night.

Though seeded tenth at Wimbledon, Sinner had never won a match on grass on the most important tour until arriving on the All England Club, nevertheless it was obscure why as he navigated the grass and generated huge punching power together with his groundstrokes against Alcaraz off shots hit from all different sorts of heights. Sinner was the more consistent force on Sunday, but he was also often the one doing the dictating against one of the crucial explosive movers and hitters in the lads’s game.

Sinner, who had lost his only previous tour-level match against Alcaraz, kept him stretching and lunging and turned Alcaraz’s service games into gantlets by repeatedly putting forceful returns at his feet and obliging him to flick half-volleys while leaning back just to remain in the purpose.

“For me, Jannik played incredibly well,” said Alcaraz, the upper seed at No. 5.

The elastic Alcaraz was often spectacular (he cannot help himself) but in addition irregular: misfiring repeatedly on his signature drop shots and failing to convert any of his seven break points while Sinner cashed in on 4 of his 12.

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