It was billed as the battle of the 20-year-olds, but Carlos Alcaraz pulled rank on his childhood friend Holger Rune as he doused the Dane’s fireworks to reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time with a 7-6(3) 6-4 6-4 victory on Wednesday.
The two tyros, who were born six days apart, were contesting a men’s Wimbledon quarterfinal that, for the first time in the professional era, featured two players aged under 21.
Despite his youth, Alcaraz is already at home among the elite of men’s tennis and has produced the form that has carried him to the top of the rankings by never allowing Rune to gain the upper hand, no matter how many flashy shots he conjured.
After saving a break point in the opening game of the match, Alcaraz put on a majestic performance in front of Britain’s Queen Camilla to end Rune’s hopes of becoming the first Danish player in 65 years to reach the All England Club semifinals.
Rune certainly won most of the crowd-pleasing points, whether it was a tweener between the legs or a stupendous reflex volley he hit at the net after Alcaraz had dashed back to the baseline to retrieve a lob.
But the Spaniard, already in the Grand Slam winner’s club after triumphing at the U.S. Open last year, refused to get flustered and kept winning the points that mattered.
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After Alcaraz missed out on converting his first three match points, including producing a double fault on one of them, he sealed a semifinal showdown with Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev when Rune slapped a service return long.
After sharing a warm embrace at the net, the Spaniard leaned back and let out a mighty roar into the skies - showing just how much this win meant to him.
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