The Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, number one in the world, qualified on Wednesday for his first semifinal in the Wimbledon grass tournament by beating another of the best young tennis players on the circuit, the Danish Holger Rune.
Alcaraz, 20, the same age as his opponent, won 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes.
He will face Russian Daniil Medvedev, third in the ATP rankings, in the semifinal with the hope of advancing towards an eventual final duel on Sunday against defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is seeking his eighth Wimbledon title.
In a very close quarterfinal match against the world number 6, Alcaraz managed to impose his genius at key moments.
“I did not expect to play at such a good level on this surface, for me this is crazy,” he acknowledged after the game on grass, a surface that until recently he did not dominate.
“At first I was very nervous about playing a quarterfinal here but also playing against Rune, someone my same age who plays at a high level,” he explained.
“But I have always said that when you enter the court there are no friends,” he added, acknowledging that from the second set he began to feel better sensations and have a better time.
The first set between two tennis players who have competed together since they were children saw them prudently attack and defend from the baseline, with a single break point which, being unsuccessful, led to a tie-break.
This also started very close, but a double fault from Rune gave the Spaniard a 4-3 lead, which Alcaraz took advantage of to win the next three points.
Also in the second set the level of both players, already looser, remained balanced, until Rune crashed a forehand into the net in the ninth game.
Alcaraz did not make any mistakes and, with a setback on the bottom line, he broke his serve, putting himself up two sets.
When the Spanish, US Open champion, broke the Dane’s serve again in the fifth game of the third set, Rune’s match was uphill and he could no longer turn it around.
In the semifinal, facing Medvedev “is going to be very tough,” admitted Alcaraz. “But you can’t play a semifinal here every year, so I’m going to enjoy this moment,” he said.