(Wimbledon) The world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, who displays his title ambition, was unconvincing on Saturday to climb to the knockout stages of Wimbledon where Daniil Medvedev (3rd) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th), less expected, were more efficient.
After two rounds against opponents in his hand, Alcaraz had great difficulty to dismiss Chilean Nicolas Jarry (28th) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 7-5 in 3:56.
“It was really, really hard. In Rio already, it had been very hard [in the semi-final won in February by Alcaraz 6-7, 7-5, 6-0, Editor’s note]. So I’m very happy to have got through it and to have received this extra energy from the public,” commented the 20-year-old Spaniard.
“The key is to always believe in it and stay focused. I knew I would have my chances,” he said.
For his second participation in the Major on grass, last year, Alcaraz was eliminated in the round of 16 by the Italian Jannik Sinner after a breathtaking match.
This year, after winning his first grass-court title at Queen’s just before coming to Wimbledon, he says he is aiming for a second Grand Slam title after last year’s US Open.
He will pass a big feasibility test in the next round where he will face for a place in the quarterfinals the German Alexander Zverev (21st) or the Italian Matteo Berrettini (38th), finalist in 2021.
Another player who had been uncomfortable on the London lawn until then, Medvedev dropped his first set of the tournament before clearly dominating the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (67th) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
“The match was very hard, more than three hours of play, he who has already played the quarter-finals here while I haven’t yet… So yes, it was hard and I’m happy to have passed”, launched the 27-year-old Russian who had already reached this stage of the Major on grass in 2021, but never went further.
This year, to move into the quarters, he will have to dismiss the Czech Jiri Lehecka (37th) who eliminated the American Tommy Paul (15th).
Wimbledon, where he was banned from participating last year, like other Russian and Belarusian players, due to Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine, is Medvedev’s least successful Grand Slam tournament.
Winner of the United States Open in 2021, he was a finalist in Australia (2021 and 2022) and played quarterfinals at Roland-Garros (2021).
“I really want to do well here [at Wimbledon]. It’s my worst Grand Slam tournament: even at Roland-Garros [on clay, a surface he hates, editor’s note] I’ve already gone to the quarters! Last year I couldn’t play so I want to go as far as possible this year,” he commented.
In great difficulty in the second round against Andy Murray, beaten in two days in a meeting concluded on Friday, Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th), was quick to beat the Serb Laslo Djere (60) on Saturday 6-4, 7-6 (7 /5), 4-6 in 2:11.
Finalist at the Australian Open (2023) and at Roland-Garros (2021), Tsitsipas has never passed the round of 16 at Wimbledon (reached in 2018 for his second appearance), nor the third round at the United States Open. .
The 24-year-old Greek will face for a place in the quarterfinals the American Christopher Eubanks (43rd) who, for his first Wimbledon, dismissed the Australian Christopher O’Connell (73rd).
In the women’s draw, the world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, a serious candidate for the title, was much more authoritative to reach the round of 16 than to win in the previous round.
The Belarusian, who came to the brink on Friday, clearly dominated Russian Anna Blinkova (40th) 6-2, 6-3 in 1:21.
Semi-finalist on the London lawn in 2021 and banned from participation last year, she will face another Russian to try to climb into the quarters, Ekaterina Alexandrova (22nd), who eliminated Hungarian Dalma Galfi 6-0, 6- 4.
The double winner (2011, 2014) Petra Kvitova easily qualified for the eighth, a stage she had not reached since 2019.