Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz eye Wimbledon semis, as Lulu Sun looks to shine

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates is win over France's Ugo Humbert during their men's singles fourth round match at Wimbledon. Picture: Henry Nicholls / AFP

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates is win over France's Ugo Humbert during their men's singles fourth round match at Wimbledon. Picture: Henry Nicholls / AFP

Published Jul 9, 2024


Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz will attempt to set up a blockbuster Wimbledon semi-final on Tuesday, confirming their status as the pathfinders of tennis's next generation.

Lulu Sun, the unheralded qualifier from a remote town in New Zealand, aims to become only the second woman from her country to reach a Grand Slam semi-final.

World number one Sinner takes on fifth-ranked Daniil Medvedev in Centre Court's opening quarter-final.

The two have clashed 11 times and their head-to-head reflects the recent rapid rise of the beanpole Italian.

Medvedev won all of the pair's first six meetings while Sinner has swept the past five.

All have come on hard courts, including the Italian's fightback from two sets down to defeat Medvedev in January's Australian Open final, his first Grand Slam title.

Both men were losing semi-finalists at the All England Club in 2023.

"When Jannik came on tour, he hit strong from every position of the court, but he was missing a lot and losing matches," said Russia's Medvedev.

"Then he stopped missing less and now it's very tough to beat him. That's why he's number one in the world."

Football focus

Defending champion Alcaraz, who is attempting to reach a sixth Grand Slam semi-final, faces Tommy Paul, the American 12th seed.

The 21-year-old Alcaraz will be desperate to have his Wimbledon business done and dusted in time to settle in front of a television to see Spain take on France in the Euro 2024 semi-finals in Germany.

Alcaraz is good friends with Spain captain Alvaro Morata.

"It's time to support them, as I know they are supporting me when I'm playing matches or I'm playing tournaments," said Alcaraz.

Alcaraz is seeking to become just the sixth man to capture the French Open and Wimbledon titles back to back.

The 27-year-old Paul is in his first Wimbledon quarter-final but arrived at the tournament having won the Queen's title on grass.

He has also won two of his four meetings against Alcaraz.

Lulu Sun is the first New Zealand woman to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals and is bidding to become only the second Kiwi woman to reach a Slam semi-final after Belinda Cordwell at the 1989 Australian Open.

Ranked at 123, Sun came through qualifying and has defeated eighth-ranked Australian Open runner-up Zheng Qinwen as well as 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

The 23-year-old left-hander, who hails from a small town on New Zealand's South Island, which she described as having "more sheep and deer than people", has crunched 21 aces through four rounds.

And her all-or-nothing game has produced a tournament-leading 162 winners. She has also hit 131 unforced errors.

Sun's opponent Donna Vekic, a former top-20 player with four titles, is also in her first Wimbledon quarter-final but made the last eight at the 2019 US Open and 2023 Australian Open.

Until this year, Jasmine Paolini had never made it past the second round of a Grand Slam in 16 appearances.

That changed with a fourth-round run at the Australian Open followed by a runner-up finish to Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros.

Standing at just 1.63m (5ft 4ins), the seventh-ranked Italian, who plays Emma Navarro in the last eight, admits she has surprised herself.

Navarro, the 17th-ranked American, is also breaking new ground as she prepares for her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

The 23-year-old New York-born player stunned world number two and US Open champion Coco Gauff in the fourth round.

Navarro has the upper hand on Paolini, defeating her three times in the past 10 months -- in San Diego, Doha and Miami.

The tournament's remaining quarter-finals take place on Wednesday with seven-time champion Novak Djokovic facing Alex de Minaur while Taylor Fritz clashes with Lorenzo Musetti.

In the women's draw, 2022 champion Elena Rybakina tackles Elina Svitolina, with Jelena Ostapenko and Barbora Krejcikova meeting in a clash of former French Open champions.