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Jannik Sinner stays strong to down Alcaraz in fourth round thriller

JANNIK Sinner of Italy in the fourth round of tennis tournament in London. — REUTERS

LONDON — Italian Jannik Sinner enjoyed a night to remember on his Centre Court debut as he toppled fifth seed Carlos Alcaraz with a barnstorming 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 win in a battle of the young-guns to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time.

On a day when Wimbledon’s most famous stage celebrated its centenary, the two youngest players left in the men’s draw gave a glimpse of the future with some breathtaking shotmaking that earned them a standing ovation from 15,000 hollering fans.

However, during the first two sets, there was little indication of the spellbinding drama that would end up unfolding on Centre Court.

The highly-rated Alcaraz, who has won a Tour-leading four titles this year, was sucked into a Sinner whirlwind as he lost seven games in a row from 1-1 in the first set.

The 19-year-old Spaniard recovered from that setback to deny Sinner two match points in the third-set tie-break before three more went begging with Alcaraz serving at 5-2 down in the fourth.

But Sinner withstood the barrage of belting winners to finally book his place in the last eight at his sixth attempt when Alcaraz rolled a forehand into the net.

“Carlos is a very tough opponent and a very nice person so it’s always a huge pleasure to play him with such a great crowd and on a special day with 100 years of Centre Court — it’s just amazing,” said Sinner, who will next face either six-time champion Novak Djokovic or Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven.

“It’s tough when you have match points and you still have to play — I tried my best, it’s part of the game, part of tennis.

“I’m very happy how I reacted in the beginning of the fourth because I was struggling, but I’m very happy to be in the next round and hopefully, I can play some good tennis there.” — Reuters

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