Carlos Alcaraz overcomes slow start to beat Tommy Paul and reach Wimbledon semifinals

Carlos Alcaraz overcame a slow start to beat Tommy Paul in four sets on Tuesday and book his place in the Wimbledon semifinals.

The defending champion dropped the first set to the American No. 12 seed on Court No. 1, but rallied to eventually win 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-2 in southwest London.

“At the beginning, the first set and the beginning of the second set, it kind of felt like I was playing on clay. Big rallies, 10 to 15 shots every point,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview afterwards. “So I had to stay strong mentally when I lost the first set.

“It was difficult for me a little bit, but I knew it was a long journey, a long match, and I just had to stay there. I’m really happy to find the solutions and the good path.”

Alcaraz will play No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, in what is a rematch of their semifinal clash from last year’s tournament.

Paul had been in excellent grass-court form having won at Queen’s – a Wimbledon warm-up tournament – and his quarterfinals appearance in SW19 was the furthest he’d reached at the grand slam.

The 27-year-old continued his impressive play on Tuesday against Alcaraz, winning the first set and holding a 2-0 lead in the second.

But the Spaniard eventually found his range, in particular against Paul’s serve. The 21-year-old broke his American opponent seven times across the final three sets of the match to provide himself the opportunity to build a lead.

After three hours and 11 minutes, the three-time grand slam champion was able to wrap up a victory which sees him into the semifinals for the second successive year.

“I believe that I can come back,” said Alcaraz, when asked how he works through difficult moments on court. “If I am struggling a little bit, I try to find the solutions if the opponent is playing great tennis. I believe that, at the end, I will be able to come back and find solutions, the good rhythm.

“Today’s match is an example. Even here at the grand slams, where the matches are longer, I have more time to come back, so I believe in myself the whole time.”

Alcaraz will play in his second successive semifinal at Wimbledon. - Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Alcaraz will play in his second successive semifinal at Wimbledon. - Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Medvedev awaits for Alcaraz in the semifinals after the Russian beat world No. 1 Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller on Centre Court on Tuesday.

Sinner won the opening set, but the Italian was hampered by an illness early in the second set, calling a medical timeout in which he had his pulse checked by doctors and went off court to be further evaluated.

When he returned, Medvedev looked a player renewed as he won the next two sets. Sinner did impressively win the fourth set but appeared to run out of steam in the final set as Medvedev booked his spot in the final four.

“It is very tough because I could feel he wasn’t moving that well,” Medvedev said on court after his victory when asked about Sinner. “You want to play more points to make him suffer a little bit more, and at the same time, you know at one point he is going to think he can’t run anymore and will go full power and that is what he did.

“He had set points to win the third set. In a way, I would have preferred to not have this situation but everything turned out well.”

When Alcaraz and Medvedev played in last year’s semifinal, the Spaniard dropped just nine games to ease into his debut Wimbledon final; Alcaraz won his maiden Wimbledon title by beating Novak Djokovic in a gripping five-set clash.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com

Advertisement