Alcaraz Survives Another Scare, Continues Quest for a Second Title at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon.

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz staged a gritty comeback to defeat American Tommy Paul 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-2, securing his place in yet another Wimbledon semifinal. Alcaraz’s trademark resilience did the job as he outperformed Paul in a tense showdown of break points and service breaks.

Alcaraz started strong, creating two break-point opportunities in the first game. Despite failing to convert, he comfortably held his serve in the next game and then broke Tommy Paul’s serve with a monstrous crosscourt forehand winner to lead 2-1. However, Paul quickly responded, breaking back to level the set at 2-2 and holding his serve to go up 3-2. Down 3-2, Alcaraz experienced a momentary lapse in form and struggled to hold serve, needing nine deuces to level the set at 3-3.

Both players then exchanged holds until Paul put pressure at 5-6, forcing consecutive backhand errors from Alcaraz. Paul capitalized on the opportunity and broke at the crucial moment to clinch the first set 7-5. Alcaraz converted only 1 out of the 9 break point opportunities.

Set 2: The Comeback Begins

Down one set, things started going downhill for Alcaraz as he kept hitting loose errors and immediately got broken for Paul to lead 2-0 in the second set. But Paul’s relief was short-lived as Alcaraz broke back and held his serve to level 2-2. Even though he continued to make a few errors and failed to break in the next, Alcaraz held his serve to love in his next service game which seemed to give him confidence. He created two break-point opportunities in the next game and broke on the second one to lead 4-3. Even though he seemed frustrated, Alcaraz maintained his composure to hold in his next service games and take the second set 6-4.

In the third set, there was a continuous shift in momentum with a few service breaks. Paul faced immediate pressure as he was taken to deuce in the first game. Alcaraz made a big forehand return on the break point and took the lead 1-0. However, in the next game, he was quickly down 2 break points and netted a backhand, allowing Paul to break and level the score to 1-1. Back on serve, Paul made 4 unforced errors in the third game, giving Alcaraz the opportunity to break back and lead 2-1.

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Alcaraz Takes Control

Alcaraz controlled his errors and forced mistakes from Paul, extending his lead to 3-1. Despite Paul’s aggressive play, Alcaraz built three break-point opportunities, but Paul took it to deuce and managed to save four break points to stay in the set. Alcaraz’s form dipped for a few points, and he made a double fault, giving Paul a break point despite holding a 40-15 lead. Although there were some unforced errors, Alcaraz eventually managed to hold for a 4-2 lead. He then broke Paul in the next game, taking a double break for the first time in the set. He quickly won the next game, taking the third set 6-2.

After a two sets to one lead, there was no stopping Alcaraz.

He turned up the dial and held his first service game in the fourth set without dropping a point. He quickly maintained his momentum, broke Paul’s serve early in the set, and took a 2-1 lead. Progressively getting better, Alcaraz continued to play exceptionally well, hitting winners with confidence, and chasing every ball from every corner of the court. He rushed to a 4-1 lead and secured a double break. He held his serve to love again but could not break Paul’s serve. Serving 5-2 for the match, Alcaraz played a couple of good shots to create three match points and won the set 6-2 as Paul hit his last backhand wide.

Even though he was struggling especially towards the beginning of the match, Alcaraz stayed focused from behind the baseline. He elevated his game to make his second consecutive Wimbledon semifinal. He converted only 8 of his 27 break points and hit 36 winners.

Paul was aiming to become the first American since Pete Sampras in 1999 to win the Queens Club Championships and Wimbledon back-to-back. He had one of the most successful grass court seasons of his career, ending with a 10-1 win-loss record on the surface.

Alcaraz is set to face Daniil Medvedev for a place in the final. Medvedev defeated a seemingly unwell World No.1 Jannik Sinner 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 in the other quarterfinal match of the day.

The other two quarterfinals will be played between Taylor Fritz and Lorenzo Musetti, and Novak Djokovic and Alex De Minaur on Wednesday.

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


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