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Thursday, 04 July 2024 08:32

Jannik Sinner wins late-night thriller against fellow Italian Berrettini.

By Emily Salley.

Jannik Sinner was the winner of an epic Italian showdown on Centre Court as he defeated Matteo Berrettini to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

The world number one needed three tie-breaks to triumph 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-7 (7-4) in a closely-contested encounter that ended just 27 minutes before the All England Club's 23:00 BST curfew.

A Wimbledon finalist in 2021, Berrettini had been Italy's leading man in tennis for a long time.

But there has been a changing of the guard, with 22-year-old Sinner's success in recent years propelling him ahead of his Davis Cup team-mate.

"We are very good friends, we play Davis Cup together, sometimes we practise together," Sinner said.

"It is very tough we had to face in the second round of such an important tournament."

Berrettini, 28, was the world number nine when he became Italy's first men's singles finalist at Wimbledon three years ago.

Since then he has slipped down the rankings to 59th, with injury problems causing him to miss this year's Australian Open and Roland Garros.

However, against Australian Open champion Sinner he showed his big serve has stayed put - hitting 28 aces to his opponent's 10.

It was the younger Italian who took control of the opening two tie-breaks before Berrettini, roared on by the crowd, stormed through the third set.

But Sinner recovered from his brief blip, going toe-to-toe throughout the fourth before taking charge of another tie-break to close out the victory after three hours and 42 minutes.

"Today was a very high level match, I think we both played really well," Sinner added.

"It's quite late so thanks for staying."

Sinner will play Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic, who defeated Dutch 27th seed Tallon Griekspoor.

Earlier, defending Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz entertained fans on Court One with a stunning victory over Australia's Aleksandar Vukic.

Alcaraz and Vukic played out a thrilling topsy-turvy opening set before the Spaniard took control and wrapped up a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 6-2 victory.

The 21-year-old is attempting to win back-to-back major titles after triumphing at the French Open last month.

"I'm really happy about my performance today," Alcaraz said.

"The first set was the key for me to pull out all the nerves. It was really close."

The three-time major winner will face American 29th seed Frances Tiafoe, who he defeated in the semi-finals en route to his US Open victory in 2022.

"We played a really good match in the US Open. I know that he is a really talented player, he is even tougher here on grass with his style," said Alcaraz.

"It's going to be a really difficult match for me but I'm ready to take that challenge, I'm ready to play a really high level of tennis."

Tiafoe made it into the third round with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 6-3 win against Croatia's Borna Coric.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Daniil Medvedev fought back from a set and a break down to defeat Frenchman Alexandre Muller.

The Russian fifth seed won 6-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 7-5 after three hours and 28 minutes on Centre Court.

"It was never easy but I managed to stay solid, stay in the match, try to fight back," said 28-year-old Medvedev.

"I'm definitely happy with the win - I should have played much better but when you win, there is the next round to do better."

Medvedev, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, will face Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round.

Eighth seed Casper Ruud fell to a 6-4 7-5 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 defeat by world number 94 Fabio Fognini of Italy.

It is the third year in a row that Norway's Ruud, who prefers clay and hard-court surfaces to grass, has lost in the second round at Wimbledon.

Frenchman Gael Monfils is two games away from the third round after he took a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 5-5 lead over three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka before play was suspended because of fading light.

American 12th seed Tommy Paul was taken the distance by world number 147 Otto Virtanen before the Queen's champion claimed a 4-6 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-4 win on court three.

Meanwhile, Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia saved four match points on his way to a 4-6 5-7 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 6-4 victory against 17th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.