Carlos Alcaraz plays Daniil Medvedev in Wimbledon SFs | ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev meet for the second time at Wimbledon in Friday’s semi-finals. Few expect a similar result to the pair’s second-round clash from three years ago.

Medvedev edged past a then 18-year-old Alcaraz for the loss of just seven games at SW19 in 2021, in the Spaniard’s first professional tournament on grass. Within 15 months of the heavy loss, Alcaraz had become the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following his rapid development into one of the most exciting players on the Tour.

“When he was 17, which was actually not long ago, he was much less mature and younger, which is normal,” Medvedev said Wednesday when asked about his early memories of Alcaraz’s time on the Tour. “He had disappeared [a lot of balls]. Everyone saw that he is great, but everyone wondered if he would find the way to miss less while producing the same power. And he did that pretty quickly. That’s what’s pretty amazing.”

Medvedev would know a thing or two about not missing. The 27-year-old is known as one of the most consistent ball strikers on Tour, with his ability to retrieve ball after ball from a deep position key to his own rise to world No.1 in 2022. On Friday, his baseline wizardry , coupled with his powerful serve, will be key to the third seed’s chances of reaching his fifth major championship match.

“He’s really a complete player,” Alcaraz said of Medvedev on Thursday. “I will say as I believe [Andrey] Rublev said a few times, he is an octopus. He catches every ball. It is fantastic. He’s a great athlete… He does almost everything well.”

Following his Wimbledon defeat to Medvedev in 2021, Alcaraz had to wait until March this year to level the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series at 1-1. The Spaniard did it in style by dropping just five games in the BNP Paribas Open championship match at Indian Wells. Despite the one-sided encounter, Medvedev says the faster conditions on Wimbledon’s Center Court will enable him to counter Alcaraz’s power more effectively.

“I think Indian Wells is not going to count much here. It was so slow in Indian Wells,” said the world No. 3. “It won’t be the same. In Wimbledon, the ball bounces lower. The serve is more important. There I felt like I couldn’t get free points with the serve.”

Although their Indian Wells clash proved tough for Medvedev, he and Alcaraz have enjoyed a similarly stellar season before forging their personal best Wimbledon showings in the fortnight. Medvedev has now won a Tour-leading 46 matches on the year, with Alcaraz second on 45, while the pair also lead the field with five tour-level titles each in 2023. If one of them lifts the trophy at the All England Club, they leapfrog Novak Djokovic to win first place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

Most wins at tour level in 2023

However, it is Alcaraz who has shone more brightly during the ongoing turf swing. The 20-year-old is 10-0 on the surface this year, a tally that includes his run to a maiden grass title at the ATP 500 at The Queen’s Club last month.

In contrast, Medvedev was 2-2 on grass heading into Wimbledon, but he dropped just one set in his first four matches at SW19 before holding off an inspired Christopher Eubanks in five to reach his first Wimbledon semi-final. The 20-time tour-level title holder is relishing the prospect of testing his level against Alcaraz, who has dropped just two sets en route to the semi-finals himself.

“It’s interesting to play someone like Carlos,” Medvedev said. “He’s a great, great player. What he continues to do is just unbelievable. He doesn’t stop. I don’t think he will, but I’ve played a lot of good players in my career. I managed to win a lot of times. So I will try to do my best. If I show my best, I have my chances.”

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With Djokovic also in the semifinals, Alcaraz has the added motivation to play to maintain his No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The Spaniard needs to at least match the seven-time champion’s result in London to retain top spot, meaning a championship match between the two would be a straight one-on-one contest for top spot. Despite the looming prospect, Alcaraz is unlikely to be distracted against Medvedev as he looks to avenge his Wimbledon defeat from three years ago.

“He’s playing great here on grass. He’s also had a great, great year,” said Alcaraz of Medvedev, who is just 275 points behind the second-placed Spaniard in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. “I lost the first match, we played here on grass. So I have to learn [from that]but I’m going to enjoy the semi-final.

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

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