Wimbledon Day 10: Alcaraz into maiden semi, Jabeur gets her revenge

 - Reem Abulleil

World No.1 eases past Rune, Tunisian ends Rybakina's title defence

Carlos Alcaraz / Quarts de finale Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The men's and women's semi-finals have been set and we're in for quite the closing stretch at Wimbledon this weekend.

Here's what happened on Wednesday Day 10 at the All England Club.

Carlitos breaks new ground

World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz became just the seventh Spanish man in history to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals as he knocked out fellow 20-year-old Holger Rune 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday.

The youngest man to make the final four at the Championships since 2007, Alcaraz will take on No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev, who ended the fairytale run of debutant Chris Eubanks 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-1.

“Honestly, it’s amazing for me, it’s a dream since I started playing tennis, making good results here at Wimbledon, such a beautiful tournament,” said an elated Alcaraz on court.

Carlos Alcaraz / Quarts de finale Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

“It’s a dream to be able to play a semi-final here. I think I played a great level, I didn’t expect to play such a great level on this surface and for me, it’s crazy.”

In the first Wimbledon men’s singles quarter-final in the Open Era to be contested by players aged under 21, Alcaraz and Rune battled for two hours and 21 minutes but it was the Spaniard who had all the answers after a nervy first set.

“It was tough, at the beginning I was really, really nervous, playing a quarter-final here at Wimbledon, playing against Rune, someone who is the same age as mine, playing a great level. Once you’ve reached the quarters, there’s no friends, you have to focus on your side of the net,” said Alcaraz, who grew up playing against Rune across various age groups, and even played doubles with him as kids.

Medvedev posted a second win in as many meetings with Christopher Eubanks, who lost to the world No.3 in the Miami Open quarter-finals earlier this year.

The 27-year-old is through to his first Wimbledon semi-final and has become the ninth active male player to reach the final four at a Grand Slam on six or more occasions.

Ons levels up

Twelve months after suffering a heartbreaking Wimbledon final defeat to Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur got her sweet revenge as she produced a brilliant performance to end the Kazakhstani’s title defence with a 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1 result.

The win means Jabeur has now made the semi-finals in three of her last five Grand Slams and sees her set up a scintillating showdown against world No.2 and reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.

“I wish we could exchange this match with the final last year,” joked Jabeur during her on-court interview.

The Tunisian world No.6 has now defeated three consecutive Grand Slam champions en route to the semi-finals, having knocked out Bianca Andreescu and Petra Kvitova prior to her clash with Rybakina.

She gets a fourth major winner in a row in Sabalenka, who snapped Madison Keys’ nine-match undefeated run with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the American on Wednesday.

“I won't change a lot of the style of the game playing another player who hits very hard,” she said of Sabalenka, who like Rybakina, is a power-hitter.

“Very emotional on the court. It's going to be very difficult match. Probably her shouting that way, me shouting this way. For me it's going to be very similar to today. I'm going to try my best to stay focused and take every opportunity. Aryna is more emotional than Elena, so maybe it could be a good or bad thing, I'm not sure. But let's see tomorrow.

“I'm going to prepare and take my revenge from two years ago,” added the Tunisia, who fell to Sabalenka in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2021.

With Queen Camilla watching from the Royal Box, Jabeur and Rybakina were neck and neck in a 44-minute opening set.

Rybakina drew first blood before Jabeur pegged her back. The Tunisian was covering every inch of the court, showcasing her playful style of tennis and switching between defence to offence on demand, which helped her claim a crucial break for a 6-5 lead.

Serving for the opening set, Jabeur played a nervy game and despite saving two break points, and creating a set point opportunity for herself, the No.6 seed was broken as Rybakina forced a tiebreak.

The defending champion opened up a 6-3 gap in the breaker and converted her third chance to take a one-set lead.

Jabeur upped the pressure in the second, claiming a break late in the frame to level the match and she conceded just one game in an impressive third set to secure her place in the final four.

“It feels great. Crazy match. Difficult match. But I'm glad that I got the win this time,” said Jabeur.

Ons Jabeur / Quarts de finale Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Sabalenka marches on

Second-seeded Sabalenka advanced to a fourth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final and improved her record at the majors this year to 17-1 with a clinical win over Keys.

Sabalenka is now one victory away from replacing Iga Swiatek at the top of the rankings and takes a 3-1 head-to-head record lead into her semi-final duel with Jabeur.

“To be honest, I want both,” said Sabalenka of her goal to win Wimbledon and become world No.1.

“But I'm trying to focus on myself because I know if I'll start thinking about all this stuff, I'm going to lose my focus on court, my game. So I'm trying to focus on myself right now and make sure that every time I'm on the court I bring my best tennis. Then later on we'll see if I'm ready to become world No.1 or if I'm ready to play another final.”

Aryna Sabalenka / Quarts de finale Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

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