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Tuesday, 09 July 2024 23:27

Alcaraz sets up repeat Medvedev Wimbledon semi-final.

By Emily Salley and Michael Emons.

Defending Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz recovered from a slow start to beat Tommy Paul and set up another semi-final against Daniil Medvedev - a repeat of their meeting from last year.

Medvedev, who defeated world number one Jannik Sinner, will be looking to avenge his defeat in the 2023 last-four match that Alcaraz won in straight sets on his way to taking the title.

Alcaraz was a set and a break of serve down on Court One on Tuesday against American Paul, the 12th seed, but recovered to win 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-2 in a match that lasted three hours 11 minutes.

Meanwhile, Medvedev had to fight every bit as hard as he defeated Sinner 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-3 win in four hours on Centre Court.

Alcaraz has already won three Grand Slam titles at the age of 21, while Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion, will be aiming to reach the Wimbledon final for the first time.

"Daniil's a really great player. It's the same semi-final as last year so hopefully I'm going to get the same result," said Alcaraz.

"He just won against Sinner, the best player right now, so he's in really good shape and I have to play my best.

"I have to believe in myself and try to keep going. It's going to be difficult but I'm going to enjoy it."

'I believe in myself the whole time'

Spaniard Alcaraz is a keen football fan and had spoken of his desire to be able to watch Spain in their Euro 2024 semi-final against France later on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old looked like he was in a rush to finish his match as he instantly piled on the pressure and took his sixth break-point opportunity to move 2-1 ahead.

However, Paul, the champion at Queen's Club last month, instantly got back on serve as a pulsating encounter full of breathtaking shots, power and commitment played out in front of an enthralled Court One crowd.

The sixth game lasted more than 15 minutes, with Paul, in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, missing three chances of a break.

But that did not prove costly.

He was two points from the opening set in the 10th game, but got over the line two games later, finishing off a delightful passing shot which Alcaraz at full stretch could not reach.

Paul took a 2-0 lead in the second set, but from then on Alcaraz recovered and stamped his authority thanks to his court coverage, ability to find spectacular winners and his impressive first serves.

The opening three games of the third set saw neither player able to hold serve, but with Paul tiring and starting to produce unforced errors, Alcaraz pulled clear and sealed a superb victory.

"When I lost the first set it was difficult," said Alcaraz. "But I knew it's a really long journey so I had to stay there.

"If I'm struggling and the opponent is playing great tennis, I believe I'll be able to come back and find solutions - I believe in myself the whole time."

'Really happy with my game'

Medvedev ended his losing streak against Sinner in a captivating contest.

Italian top seed Sinner, who was hampered by illness, had won his most recent five encounters against Medvedev - including January's Australian Open final.

But Russian fifth seed Medvedev avenged that Melbourne result.

"I knew if I wanted to beat Jannik it needs to be a tough match," said Medvedev. I'm really happy to win, really happy with my game and looking forward."