• Tuesday, December 05, 2023


Djokovic, Alcaraz, and Rybakina impress as Wimbledon heads to quarter finals

Tennis fans eagerly await the captivating battles that lie ahead as the players strive for glory on the hallowed grass courts

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates victory against Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the Men’s Singles fourth round match during day eight of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

By: Shailesh Solanki

The excitement at Wimbledon continues to build as Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz maintain their course for a potential dream final, while defending women’s champion Elena Rybakina comfortably secures a spot in the quarter-finals.

In a stunning display of dominance, last year’s runner-up Ons Jabeur decimated two-time champion Petra Kvitova with a commanding 6-0, 6-3 victory. Similarly, the second seed Aryna Sabalenka secured her place in the next round with a straightforward straight-set win.

Djokovic showcased his skill and tenacity against the impressive serve of Hubert Hurkacz, remaining on track for his record-equalling eighth Wimbledon title and 24th Grand Slam victory. The Serbian maestro triumphed with a hard-fought 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-4 win, reaching his 14th quarter-final at the tournament.

Celebrating his 100th match at Wimbledon, the Serbian legend secured his 90th win and reflected on the key to his success, stating, “In the pivotal moments, especially in the fourth set, I was able to anticipate his serve and secure that crucial break. That was the turning point for my victory.” Djokovic now prepares to face Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Alcaraz faced an initial setback, dropping the first set to 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini. However, the young Spanish sensation quickly bounced back, triumphing with a scoreline of 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, securing his first-ever appearance in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Despite his limited grass-court experience, Alcaraz’s victory at last month’s Queen’s tournament propelled him towards his pursuit of the Wimbledon title.

Eager to reach the quarter-finals, the US Open champion expressed his aspirations, saying, “Playing in the quarter-finals here was my goal this year. It’s my dream to reach the final and win this title someday, so I hope to make that dream a reality this year. But for now, I’m thrilled to be in the quarter-finals.”

Alcaraz’s next opponent will be the sixth seed, Holger Rune, after the fellow 20-year-old defeated the veteran Grigor Dimitrov with an impressive 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory.

In another exciting development, men’s third seed Daniil Medvedev advanced to the quarter-finals when his opponent, unseeded Jiri Lehecka, retired due to a foot injury with Medvedev leading 6-4, 6-2 in their Court One clash.

Medvedev’s next challenge comes from 43rd-ranked Christopher Eubanks, who delivered a stunning performance by defeating the fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Eubanks, who previously expressed his aversion to grass, now sees it as his ally, stating, “The relationship between grass and me has been tumultuous over the years, but now I consider it my closest friend.”

In a highly-anticipated clash on No. 2 Court, 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva’s remarkable journey came to an end. The young qualifier seemed destined for a quarter-final berth, leading 25th seed Madison Keys by a set and 4-1. However, the American fought back valiantly, securing a 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory. The match concluded with controversy as Andreeva received a penalty point for forcefully striking her racket against the surface, leading to Keys reaching match point.

Reflecting on her emotions, Andreeva drew inspiration from the early struggles of Roger Federer, stating, “I knew that even Roger Federer faced challenges with his emotions when he was a teenager. I’m not the only one who struggles.”

The action on Centre Court commenced with Rybakina leading 3-1 against Brazilian world number 13 Beatriz Haddad Maia. Unfortunately, Haddad Maia was forced to retire due to a lower back injury when trailing 4-1.

Kazakh third seed Rybakina sets up a rematch of last year’s final with Jabeur, who swiftly swept Kvitova aside in just over an hour. Seeking redemption, Rybakina declared, “I’m seeking revenge in this match. Last year’s final was a challenging one, and it will bring back a lot of memories. I hope to play like I did today and secure the victory because she’s an incredible player.”

In the other women’s fourth-round encounter, Belarusian second seed Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, breezed past Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova with a resounding 6-4, 6-0 win. Sabalenka’s next opponent will be Keys in the quarter-finals.

As Wimbledon progresses to the quarter-finals, fans eagerly await the captivating battles that lie ahead as the players strive for glory on the hallowed grass courts.

(With inputs from agencies)

Eastern Eye

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