Wimbledon | Alcaraz sweeps Medvedev aside

Carlos Alcaraz’s ambition of playing Novak Djokovic on Centre Court is to be realised on Sunday following his annihilation of Daniil Medvedev in Saturday’s second semi-final of this year’s Championships.

It was really difficult to close the match, it’s never easy, you have to be focused. Daniil didn’t want to lose, he fought until the last ball, he’s amazing fighter, runner, player. I had to show my best in that tough moment, play aggressive, be myself all the time. That was the key to closing that match. Carlos Alcaraz

The 20-year-old Spaniard stormed into the final with another stunning performance as he basically swept aside the third seeded Russian 6-3 6-3 6-3 in 109-minutes after watching Djokovic’s own comfortable victory over Jannik Sinner earlier in the afternoon.

And there is plenty at stake on Sunday, with Djokovic going for his eighth title to match Roger Federer’s record and 24th overall to equal the great Margaret Court’s grand slam singles record tally of 24, and Alcaraz aiming for his first at SW19 and second of his careerl. In addition, the top-ranking spot which Alcaraz currently holds, is also at stake.

“What can I say about him [Djokovic]? Everybody knows the legend he is. It’s going to be really difficult,” Alcaraz told the packed Centre Court following his win.

“I will believe in myself, that I can beat him here. I saw that he is [unbeaten] since 2013 on this court, so it’s going to be a tough challenge. but I’m grateful for this.

“It’s a final, there’s no time to be afraid or tired. I will go for it, and we’ll see what happens.”

For the first two sets Alcaraz was comfortably in control keeping Medvedev on the run with his angles and variety of shot. In particular, he liked to take advantage of the Russian’s habit of receiving some 15-feet behind the baseline, to draw him wide and then simply guide the return wide to the other side of the court well out of reach from the charging third seed.

His drop shots were also effectively deployed keeping Medvedev on the run and mostly on the defensive.


Carlos Alcaraz was in command throughout

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The first break through came in the seventh game with Alcaraz successfully retrieving a Medvedev drop shot for the first break-point of the match which he then converted with driving forehand which Medvedev couldn’t control.

The Spaniard then served out to love to pocket the first set after just 35-minutes.

The second set proved a bit tighter in the early stages as Medvedev tried to keep pace with him. Alcaraz double-faulted to gift him a chance to take the lead only to snatch the opportunity back with an ace.

In the third game Medvedev came under pressure and was forced to hold off an Alcaraz attack saving two break points only to drop serve a few points later after Alcaraz, dominating the net, gained a third chance which he converted with a driving backhand low to Medvedev’s ankles forcing an error with the return.

Alcaraz’s serve wasn’t threatened during the rest of the set which he secured in the ninth game with another break following a series of excellent shots which raised three set points. Medvedev fought back to successfully fend off two of them but subsequently was forced into a backhand error.

That set lasted 36-minutes and Medvedev was by now showing frustration but he dug deep and, in the third, he made inroads into the Alcaraz game after the Spaniard had got off to a good start for what looked like an open run to the finish line.

He led 3-0 and after Medvedev held for 3-1, fortune smiled on him as Alcaraz seemingly lost concentration to not only go down 0-40, butthe double faulted on the second break point to bring the Russian back into contention.

Alcaraz, after losing his serve for the first time, responded by striking back to recover his break advantage for 4-3 and then extend his lead to 5-3 and secure his place in the final with a solid hold on his second match point after one-hour and 50-minutes, with a stunning, running passing shot cross court,

“It was really difficult to close the match, it’s never easy, you have to be focused,” Alcaraz said.

“Daniil didn’t want to lose, he fought until the last ball, he’s amazing fighter, runner, player.

“I had to show my best in that tough moment, play aggressive, be myself all the time. That was the key to closing that match.”

And so to Sunday’s showdown with Djokovic, who is amazed at how well he has adapted to the surface.

“Amazing player, Great guy off court. He carries himself very, very well and respects the history of the sport, respects everyone. No bad word about him at all.”

The last time they met it was in the semis of the French Open when Alcaraz was forced to retire after cramping badly with the match level at a set apiece.

For the young Spaniard, the opportunity to avenge that particular loss, could well prove a major motivating factor.


Carlos Alcaraz interacts with his opponent following his victory

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)



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