Wimbledon: Alcaraz Continues Impressive Run, Sinner Next

Carlos Alcaraz (photo: Wimbledon video)

WIMBLEDON/WASHINGTON, July 2, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

While few fans are likely to remember the 2011 quarterfinal run by then-18-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic at the Wimbledon Championships, everyone is talking about the impressive run by this year’s teen sensation, Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.

Friday on No. 1 Court, the 19-year-old Alcaraz advanced to the fourth round with a dynamic 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Germany’s Oscar Otte. In just his second Wimbledon, the fifth-seeded Spaniard is now the youngest man to reach the fourth round since Tomic 11 years ago.

“I played unbelievable today,” Alcaraz said of his one-hour, 38-minute victory over the No. 32 seed Otte, during his post-match press conference. Alcaraz struck 37 winners and made just eight unforced errors, while winning 88 percent (35 of 40) of his first-serve points.

“This was my best performance so far. I’m really happy with the level, and I will try to keep this level into the next round.”

Next, Alcaraz will face No. 10 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy on Sunday in a matchup of the 2021 and 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo NextGen ATP Finals champions. Sinner advanced to round of 16 with a 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over No. 20 seed John Isner of the United States in two hours and 20 minutes. He became the youngest Italian man to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

“For me, in the beginning of the week, it was important to win one match on grass, so I am very happy to be now in the last 16. It means a lot to me,” Sinner said after his third-round triumph.

“I am just trying my best, day after day. I tried to get used to the grass [and] I think now I am a bit more confident. That is important.”

“Obviously Jannik is a good player,” Alcaraz said. “He plays unbelievable. He has a great level here on grass. He has won really good matches here, so it’s going to be a really tough round.

“But obviously I’m going to enjoy [it]. Playing against Jannik is always tough. I like to play these kind of matches, these kind of challenges.”

Around the All England Club

• Friday night on No. 1 Court, 41-year-old Venus Williams celebrated victory pairing with Jamie Murray to defeat Alicja Rosolska of Poland and Michael Venus of New Zealand, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3, in a first-round mixed doubles match. It advanced Williams and Murray to the second round against British wild cards Alicia Barnett and Jonny O’Mara.

The seven-time major singles champion Williams had not competed at all since playing singles at the Chicago Open last August. She came last minute and asked Murray. They received a wild card entry.

”I’ve been trying to play with him forever,” said Williams, who has also won 14 major doubles titles, all with her younger sister Serena. “He plays hard to get.”

Murray thought he and Williams did a really good job playing together for the first time. “It was fun,” he said. “For me, that was what I wanted to get out of it. It was a great experience, playing with Venus Williams. When am I going to get the chance to do that?”

• Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie is one of two Britons left standing in the men’s singles draw, along with surprising wild card Liam Broady. On Friday evening, the No. 9 seed Norrie sprinted to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 victory over  No. 93 Steve Johnson of the United States, which delighted the partisan Centre Court fans.

Norrie saved all three break points he faced from Johnson and broke the American six times in 21 attempts. He outpointed Johnson 102-69.

“It feels really good to do it here at Wimbledon,” said the World No. 12 Norrie.

“I definitely enjoyed that match today. I’m really enjoying playing at this level, enjoying the process of it all, and enjoying improving.”

• No. 55 Caroline Garcia of France has reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 after defeating No. 33 seed Zhang Shuai of China, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5),  during Friday’s third round.

Garcia won a grass-court title last week in Bad Homburg, Germany, and her third-round victory extended her grass-court win streak to eight matches. She fired 16 aces and struck 40 winners to 27 unforced errors.

“I came from Germany and won matches there,” Garcia said in her on-court interview. “The most important thing is to keep winning and push your limits every time. A little pain never killed anybody.”

Next, she will face No. 66 Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, who upset No. 28 seed Alison Riske of the United States 6-2, 6-3.

Friday’s Wimbledon results

Saturday’s Wimbledon order of play

By the numbers

• On Friday, John Isner of the United States set the world record for most service aces struck on the ATP Tour. During his 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3 third round loss to No. 10 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy on No. 2 Court, the No. 20 seed Isner hit 24 to reach 13,748. Going into the match, he needed just two to surpass Ivo Karlovic’s total of 13,728.

Isner, who once struck 113 aces in a single match, when he beat Nicolas Mahut over three days at Wimbledon in 2011, hit 54 during his first round win against Enzo Couacaud on Monday, then added 36 in his win over Andy Murray on Wednesday. He fired the record-breaking ace in the third game of the match, at 1-1 (15-30).

“I’m actually very proud of that record,” Isner said during his post-match press conference. “I wish I could have broken it in a win, but to have set the all-time aces record at Wimbledon I think is very special. It’s a credit to — in my mind — how professional I’ve been to keep myself healthy for such a long time, to keep myself on the court to give myself the opportunity to hit those aces.

“It is something I’m actually pretty proud of. I don’t pat myself on the back too much, but this one I think is pretty cool.”

• Three players ranked outside the Top 100 are into the fourth round of this year’s Wimbledon in singles: Women’s No. 103 Tatjana Maria of Germany and No. 109 Heather Watson of Great Britai, and men’s No. 104 Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands.

“Quotable …”

“I had no plan to play I saw the grass and I got excited. … I had no plans. That’s why I was asking him last minute. … Definitely, I couldn’t have guessed that I would be here right now, taking it at the last minute. 

“I haven’t played in a year so you don’t know what you’re going to get. Practice is so much different from a match. It’s not easy physically or mentally or anything. 

“Just at the last it was like, ‘Oh, my God, wow! I just not only played a match but won a match. I’m never like that kind of player. I always expect to win. But when I sat there, we wanted to win. When I sat there at the end, it was like real. Yeah, I felt something in my heart.”

Venus Williams, 41, of the United States, who said she was inspired by her younger sister Serena’s comeback last week in Eastbourne and the Wimbledon grass, and then asked Great Britain’s Jamie Murray to play mixed doubles. On Friday, evening Williams and Murray won their first-round mixed doubles match over Alicja Rosolska of Poland and Michael Venus of New Zealand.