Carlos Alcaraz made to work hard for place in fourth round at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz made to work hard for place in fourth round at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz remains on course to meet Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final – but the seven-time champion will not be having sleepless nights just yet.

World number one Alcaraz, touted as the only realistic challenger to Djokovic this fortnight, joined the Serbian in the fourth round after beating Nicolas Jarry.

But it took the Spaniard four sets and almost four hours to get past a player who had not played at Wimbledon for four years and before this week had only won one match here.

Chilean Jarry is a player on an upward curve, however, having risen from 152 in the world at the start of the year to a career-high 28.

Wimbledon 2023 – Day Six – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates a hard-fought victory over Nicolas Jarry (Adam Davy/PA)

Nevertheless, it looked like being plain sailing when Alcaraz won his 17th consecutive set with a solitary break.

But in the second-set tie-break, Alcaraz dumped a forehand into the net to drop a set for the first time since he played Arthur Rinderknech in the first round at Queen’s last month.

Alcaraz regained the initiative to take the third with a solitary break while Jarry hit the roof – literally – with one particularly wild swing.

Yet the indefatigable Jarry found a second wind and broke again at the start of the fourth, before an incorrect challenge from Alcaraz – who stopped playing only to discover Jarry’s return had clipped the baseline – left him on his haunches in annoyance with himself.

But Alcaraz steadied himself to hit back for 3-4 and then showed why he is the player at the top of the tree with an unstoppable backhand return to break before serving out for a hard-earned 6-3 6-7 (6) 6-3 7-5 victory.

“It has been really tough, Nicolas is a really great player, he’s playing really well,” said Alcaraz. “I’m just really happy with the level I played to get through this tough round.

“I had to stay focused. I knew I would have my chances. I would say the key is to believe and stay focused all the time.”

Third seed Daniil Medvedev also dropped a set but hit back to beat Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.