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“I didn’t expect it” – surging Sinner edges Alcaraz in clash of future Wimbledon titans

Jannik Sinner beat Carlos Alcaraz 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3 on Sunday evening and will play the winner of the match between Serb Novak Djokovic, the top seed, and Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven in the next round

Jannik Sinner Wimbledon 2022 Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 3, 2022 Italy’s Jannik Sinner reacts during his fourth round match against Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

In a match that left fans sanguine about the future, Italian Jannik Sinner, the No 10 seed, battled past Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the No 5 seed, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3 to become the youngest men’s singles quarter-finalist at Wimbledon since Nick Kyrgios in 2014.

The 20-year-old Italian had never won a match on grass prior to Wimbledon this year, but he has made made dramatic improvements since his first-round contest against Stan Wawrinka.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the young Italian, and with his triumph he becomes the third-youngest player to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final on all three surfaces since 2000 – only Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had done it at a younger age than Sinner.

Low expectations, high form

“I didn’t expect it because I was not playing so well,” Sinner told the crowd after his victory. “Match after match, I was better and then I won my first grass-court match here in the first round, and now I’m here in the quarterfinals. I tried to adapt myself.” 

In a match up of potential future Wimbledon champions on Centre Court, Sinner held his nerve – and serve – to edge past the rising Spaniard in three hours and 35 minutes.

Two match points for Sinner, but a fourth set

Though he failed to convert two match points in a riveting third-set tiebreak, Sinner held firm in the fourth set, and soon would earn another four match points before finally closing out the scintillating clash on his sixth match point of the evening.

“It’s tough when you have match point and you still have to play, but you know I tried my best – it’s just part of the game,” Sinner said. “It’s part of part of tennis, and obviously I’m very happy how how I reacted because in the fourth set in the beginning, I was struggling and he tried to go over, so yeah, I’m very happy to be to be the next round.”

Sinner finished with 35 winners against 41 unforced errors, while Alcaraz chipped in 33 winners against 39 unforced.

The 19-year-old Spaniard was less tidy with his serve, however.

He faced 12 break points and was broken four times, while Sinner saved all seven break points he faced.

Sinner, ranked No 13, will play the winner of the match between Serb Novak Djokovic, the top seed, and Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven next.

He had lost all four of his grass-court matches at tour-level, dating back to 2019, prior to Wimbledon. At SW19 he has racked up wins over Stan Wawrinka, Mikael Ymer, John Isner and Alcaraz.

Wimbledon (Grand Slam), other last 16 results (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, grass, GBP 40.350.000, most recent results first):

  • Botic van de Zandschulp vs. Rafael Nadal
  • Jason Murray Kubler vs. Taylor Fritz
  • Brandon Nakashima vs. Nick Kyrgios
  • Cristian Garin vs. Alex De Minaur
  • Novak Djokovic vs. Tim van Rijthoven
  • Cameron Norrie (9) beat Tommy Paul (30): 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
  • David Goffin beat Frances Tiafoe (23): 7-6 (3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
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