Carlos Alcaraz overcomes biggest Wimbledon test yet to reach the quarter-finals

Carlos Alcaraz overcomes biggest Wimbledon test yet to reach the quarter-finals

Carlos Alcaraz passed another test to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time.

Having been pushed to four sets by Nicolas Jarry in the third round, the world number one had to fight back from a set down to see off former finalist Matteo Berrettini 3-6 6-3 6-3 6-3.

This was a meeting of the last two Queen’s Club champions and undoubtedly a significant hurdle for Alcaraz, who is learning quickly on the surface and produced a very solid display.

“I knew it was going to be really tough, Matteo is a great player, he made the final here on grass,” said Alcaraz.

“He’s playing great. It’s not easy after losing the first set. I knew I was going to have my chances. Something I’ve been working on is to stay focused and not lose my mind a little bit. That part I did great.

“It’s something that I really wanted. Last year I lost in the fourth round. I came here this year with that goal, first get into the quarter-finals and now I’m looking for more.

“My dream is to play a final here, to win the title one day. I hope I reach that dream this year but right now it’s great to be in the quarter-finals.”

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates victory over Matteo Berrettini
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates victory over Matteo Berrettini (John Walton/PA)

Now he will take on fellow 20-year-old Holger Rune in the first Wimbledon men’s singles quarter-final between players aged under 21 in the open era.

Standing in the way of the young guns claiming the title, of course, is 36-year-old Novak Djokovic, who is now the only player left in the men’s draw to have previously reached a Wimbledon final.

Alcaraz remains the man most likely to deny him a record-equalling eighth Wimbledon title and 24th grand slam crown and there were plenty of the Spaniard’s crowd-pleasing tricks on show, including a winner threaded between umpire’s chair and net post that he celebrated from virtually in the stand.

He was second best in the opening set, though, as Berrettini dictated with his forehand, breaking the Alcaraz serve to lead 5-3.

Carlos Alcaraz, left, walks to check on Matteo Berrettini after a slip
Carlos Alcaraz, left, walks to check on Matteo Berrettini after a slip (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Italian, who missed Wimbledon last year with an ill-timed bout of coronavirus, has struggled this season with a recurring abdominal injury, saying after beating Alexander Zverev on Saturday that he had spent days crying in bed and arrived in London doubting he would be able to play.

He was aiming to emulate countryman Jannik Sinner, who defeated Alcaraz at the same stage 12 months ago and is through to the last eight again.

There was a concerning moment during the first point of the second set when Berrettini slipped and fell heavily, with Alcaraz coming to check on him, but the 27-year-old soon picked himself up.

Berrettini had not dropped serve once during his first three matches but the tide began to turn when a sloppy game at 1-2 saw him broken to love.

Alcaraz pushed for another break early in the third set and got it with an athletic, arching smash on his sixth chance as Berrettini was just unable to shake off the tenacious Spaniard.

Carlos Alcaraz whips a forehand
Carlos Alcaraz whips a forehand (Victoria Jones/PA)

Berrettini certainly had his moments but Alcaraz has so many weapons to choose from and he was wearing down the popular Italian.

At 2-2 in the fourth set, proceedings were briefly halted for the roof to be closed with darkness falling.

And Alcaraz wasted little time booking his spot in the last eight on the resumption, becoming the youngest man to do so here since Nick Kyrgios in 2014.

Berrettini tried to find some perspective, saying: “Right now it’s tough to say it was a good tournament. I know it was.

“Probably in a few hours, a few days, I’m going to appreciate even more what I did. I really thought about not playing two days before the tournament. So being in the fourth round and losing like this against Carlos, it’s something I have to be proud of.”