Tennis

Wimbledon | Sinner wins battle of Young Guns

The hype has surrounded Carlos Alcaraz making him the centre of attention for much of this season, but he has produced some excellent performances and collected four titles, including two at Masters level, on the way.

I didn’t expect it because I was not playing so well on grass and then match after match, I was better Yannik Sinner

At 19 years of age, that in itself is quite remarkable and was reflected in his swift rise up the rankings resulting in him being allocated the fifth seed’s position in this year’s draw on only his second appearance at Wimbledon.

Also making a strong impression on the tennis world is Jannik Sinner, a 20-year-old Italian seeded 10, who is as equally talented though this year he has not been as successful as last year when he made his breakthrough, for he has suffered a bout of Covid and a knee injury.

But he is obviously fully fit now as he prevailed 6-1 6-4 6-7(8) 6-3 for his first victory in two meetings with the teenager but more importantly, this win was on grass.

Bothe were playing Wimbledon for the second time having lost in their opening rounds a year ago, but it was Sinner who progressed on this occasion to become the youngest player to reach the last eight since Nick Kyrgios in 2014.

“It’s for sure in the top list. I didn’t expect it because I was not playing so well on grass and then match after match, I was better,” Sinner said.

“Then I won my first grass court match here in the first round and now I’m here in the quarter finals. I tried to adapt myself and I think obviously the crowd helped me a lot.”

The two arrived in SW19 keen to gain grass court experience and both proved to be quick learners as they have shown over the week with Sinner seemingly emerging top of the class s he gained the upper hand early with the Spaniard showing early nerves falling 3-1 behind in the first.

Sinner was not going to let his grip on the first set loosen with Alcaraz showing some frustration at his lack of penetration.

The second set followed a similar scenario and whatever Alcaraz attempted, Sinner had the answer, even in a drop shot exchange which delighted the crowd.

Sinner’s serve was also a weapon which kept the young Italian in control to pocket the second set , setting himself nicely for a run to the finish line.

But the thought of victory must have suddenly upset his focus or perhaps Alcaraz suddenly found some of his mojo, for the match suddenly became a match-up

The two young guns locked horns and the set went down to atie-break where Alcaraz emerged the winner to bring himself back into the contest.

Alcaraz though, had never recovered before from two sets down and it didn’t look like he would this time as Sinner regained his concentration to get himself back on track but he fought all the way saving five match points before conceding after three-hours and 35-minutes.

“It’s tough when you have match point, and you still have to play (on),” Sinner said. “I tried my best, it is just part of the game, part of tennis, and obviously I am very happy how I reacted, because in the first (match) I was struggling. I am very happy to be in the next round and hopefully I can play some good tennis.”

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz shake hands after their fourth round match

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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