Carlos Alcaraz wins battle of the young guns to reach first Wimbledon semi-final

By Sports Desk July 12, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz beat fellow young gun and childhood friend Holger Rune to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.

World number one Alcaraz and sixth seed Rune played doubles together when they were 14 and now the duo were the first men under 21 to face each other in a Wimbledon quarter-final in the open era.

It was the first time they had met at a grand slam, the start of a rivalry which could last for 10 or 15 years, and it was the Spaniard who came out top with a 7-6 (3) 6-4 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

Just six days separate the pair – Rune being the older – and as they headed into a first-set tie-break there was virtually nothing to choose between them either.

Alcaraz had hit 12 winners to Rune’s 13, both had made 12 unforced errors and both had won a total of 38 points.

Both had also double-faulted once, but Rune picked the wrong time to add to that particular tally to hand Alcaraz the advantage in the tie-break, which he went on to win with a stunning backhand return.

They exchanged further blows until 4-4 in the second set when Rune netted a simple overhead, and Alcaraz punished a second serve with another pin-point return to secure the first break of the match.

With England captain Ben Stokes watching in the crowd, it was Rune’s title hopes that were turning to ashes.

The weary Dane was given a warning for a time violation and was promptly broken for 3-2 in the third.

Rune saved a match point on his own serve but could not get near Alcaraz’s as the top seed wrapped up victory in two hours and 20 minutes.

Alcaraz, still a relative grass-court rookie despite his win at Queen’s Club a fortnight ago, said: “Honestly it’s amazing for me, a dream since I started playing tennis, making good results at Wimbledon, such a beautiful tournament.

“To be able to play a semi-final here… I think I’m playing at a great level, I didn’t expect to play such a great level on this surface so for me, it’s crazy.

“At the beginning I was really nervous playing a quarter-final and playing against Rune, someone the same age and playing at a great level. But once you get to a quarter-final there are no friends, you have to focus on yourself and I did great in that.”

Alcaraz will play Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev, who beat him in the second round two years ago when he really was a novice on grass, in the semi-final.

“We played two times, once here at Wimbledon,” added Alcaraz. “It’s going to be a tough one.

“But right now I’m going to enjoy this moment. You don’t play a semi-final every year.”

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