Novak Djokovic Looms Large As Carlos Alcaraz Bids To Reach Wimbledon Final

Carlos Alcaraz takes on Daniil Medvedev on Friday for a place in the Wimbledon final, where history-chasing Novak Djokovic will likely be lying in wait. The Spanish top seed has looked increasingly impressive in his surge to the last four but nobody is betting against Djokovic, who faces eighth-ranked Jannik Sinner. AFP Sport takes a look at the two semi-finals (x denotes seeding — players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries).

Jannik Sinner will not have slept easily after last year’s painful Wimbledon quarter-final defeat against Novak Djokovic.

The Italian was two sets up and on the brink of a career-defining win before the Serbian gave himself a pep talk during a toilet break.

Whatever he said to himself certainly worked — he broke early and never looked back, losing just seven games over the last three sets as he romped to victory

Djokovic is within sight of two seismic records — equalling Roger Federer’s mark of eight men’s singles titles at Wimbledon and Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

He is not the top seed but candidly says his astonishing achievements at the All England Club make him top dog.

“Judging with the results I had in my career here, previous four occasions of Wimbledon that I won, and reaching another semi-final, I consider myself favourite,” said the 36-year-old.

But underdog Sinner, 21, believes he has absorbed lessons from last year’s loss as he plots a monumental upset.

“Last year I played a very good match against him,” he said. “I have learned about it. Hopefully I can show this also on the court.

“I’m going to stick with my game plan in my mind, and hopefully I can execute it in the best possible way.”

Head-to-head (year, tournament, round, winner, score):

Djokovic leads 2-0

2022 Wimbledon QF Djokovic 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

2021 Monte Carlo R32 Djokovic 6-4, 6-2

Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) v Daniil Medvedev (x3)

Carlos Alcaraz has looked increasingly impressive at Wimbledon — powering past his friend Holger Rune in the last eight.

The Spaniard has rattled off 10 straight wins on grass, including his title-winning run at Queen’s, and is seen as the man most likely to dethrone Djokovic.

But before he can even contemplate a first final, he faces a tough task against Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev, who brushed him aside in the second round two years ago.

Alcaraz, who has rocketed up the rankings since then, described Medvedev as a “complete player”.

“He’s an octopus,” he said. “He catches every ball. It is amazing, he’s an amazing athlete.”

The 20-year-old Alcaraz, who won the US Open in 2022 and beat Medvedev convincingly in the Indian Wells final earlier this year, is talking a good game.

“I think I’m playing great, a lot of confidence right now,” he said. “So it’s going to be a really good match I think. I going to enjoy.”

Despite his high ranking, Medvedev’s record at Wimbledon is modest — his previous best run was reaching the fourth round in 2021.

The 27-year-old, who was unable to play last year due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, is wary of the “brutal” power of his young opponent but says he has found his rhythm on grass.

“I managed to find it so far,” he said. “So hopefully I can find it for two more matches.”

Head-to-head (year, tournament, round, winner, score):

Alcaraz and Medevdev level at 1-1

2023 Indian Wells F Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2

2021 Wimbledon R64 Medvedev 6-4, 6-1, 6-2

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