Wimbledon 2024: Raducanu, Alcaraz, Sinner, Gauff win – as it happened

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these levels. So it leaves Kecmanovic serving to stay in the match … and the Serb holds to 15.

But now the match is on Sinner’s serve … and from 0-15 down he flashes an ace – no, he hasn’t! Kecmanovic challenges and is proved correct! – and Kecmanovic wins the point with a backhand down the line! 0-30. 15-30. 30-all. 30-40, break point, when Sinner serves up only his second double fault.

Sinner is stretching and sliding as if he’s playing on clay rather than grass to avert the danger. And from break point down Sinner soon has match point, and Kecmanovic hits long! The world No 1 is through to the fourth round and is now just two wins away from a potential semi-final showdown with Carlos Alcaraz.

Wimbledon result – a fourth-round showing in 2018 – by taking out the 28th seed Dayana Yastremska in three sets, 7-6, 6-7, 6-1, on her ninth (!) match point. Vekic now faces Paula Badosa – who reached the last 16 earlier despite being told by doctors a few months ago that she should retire because of her injury problems. Vekic has endured her share of injury issues too, so it’s lovely to see them doing well here.

Wimbledon debut. As it’s a match that Raducanu will be expected to win, it’ll be interesting to see how she deals with the pressure. But she’s looking so happy, calm and assured – it’s great to have her back in the mix.

She served strongly today, was aggressive on her return, played the big points well and is yet to drop a set. Aryna Sabalenka’s withdrawal threw Raducanu’s quarter of the draw wide open – and she could even be reaching for the semi-finals, as the winner of Raducanu v Sun will play the winner of Paula Badosa v Dayana Yastremska or Donna Vekic in the last eight. Yastremska and Vekic are currently locked at one set all on No 1 Court.

Wimbledon last 16!

Wimbledon last 16 in 2021.

Raducanu has the Centre Court crowd in raptures with a fine forehand that clips the sideline. She still has much to do in this game at 40-15 down, though, but another aggressive return – she’s been returning so well in this match – makes it 40-30. She can’t get any further and Sakkari holds from there. Raducanu chews on a banana at the changeover and will come back to serve at 6-2, 4-3.

Johanna Konta, a former semi-finalist here, makes an interesting point on the BBC, saying that Raducanu probably has very mixed emotions about that US Open win, given all the scrutiny and pressure that followed. Raducanu is showing absolutely no signs of feeling any pressure here, though, and holds to 15 with a punchy forehand into the corner. It’s 6-2, 4-2.

Sakkari is such an athletic, versatile player, but can be up and down and doubt herself in the big moments, and that’s been the pattern here. Raducanu has brought her best on those break points, coming up with seven first serves, and her belief appears to have remained constant during the match, even when she’s made errors. Sakkari holds to 30 with a smash and Raducanu is 6-2, 3-2 ahead.

Here’s that underarm serve from Bublik that I was talking about earlier:

From 30-0, a sudden shift in momentum as Raducanu goes 30-40 down. But Raducanu, so full of belief at the moment, is up for the fight and battles to deuce. Sakkari edges ahead once more to advantage … and there’s a third ace from Raducanu! Deuce. Advantage Raducanu. Sakkari’s return clips the tape and agonisingly trickles over. Deuce. Advantage Raducanu. Game Raducanu. She leads 6-2, 3-1. And Sakkari has now seen seven break points come and go during this match.

Unfortunately all matches on the outside courts have been called off for the day. But Donna Vekic and Dayana Yastremska have been moved to No 1 Court, with Vekic leading 7-6. That makes sense, as finishing that match will ensure that the bottom half of the women’s draw is completed today. In the men’s, however, Medvedev v Struff, Nakashima v Humbert, Fognini v Bautista Agut and Shapovalov v Shelton will resume tomorrow.

Raducanu jumps on two second serves with two big returns. 0-30. She’s all energy on the baseline, ready for the next return, but this time goes long. 15-30. But then it’s 15-40, two break points. And the story of this match so far is that Raducanu has played the big points better. She does so again here, as Sakkari’s shot flies beyond the baseline. Raducanu breaks for 6-2, 2-1.

I like this version of Raducanu. It’s like the 2021 version, but with more experience and physical durability. These two did actually play each other in Raducanu’s unlikely run to the US Open title that year, with Raducanu winning their semi-final 6-1, 6-4. Raducanu has been through so much since then, of course – a loss of form, injury hell, trying to grow up in the glare of the world – but this is by far the strongest run of form she’s had since that autumn three years ago. Sakkari holds at the start of the second set – Raducanu replies with a hold to 30. Raducanu leads 6-2, 1-1.

After pulling off an unlikely lob to break Sakkari again, Raducanu is serving for the first set at 5-2. But it’s not quite going to plan as she slides 30-40 down. Raducanu averts the danger but is soon facing another break point. Sakkari has had four break points in this match so far – and hasn’t taken any of them. And she doesn’t come good in this one either, because Raducanu rams away the winner. Deuce. Advantage Raducanu. Game and first set Raducanu. She is looking so strong and confident.

Gauff will play fellow American Emma Navarro in the last 16. “Last time I played Emma was earlier this year,” Gauff continues. “She’s had a great tournament, this is her first real season on grass. If I play good tennis hopefully it’ll go my way.”

Gauff’s thoughts:

I thought I played really well. She was playing at a high level in the first set, it’s been a great tournament for her. She wasn’t giving me much to work with and she does a good job of mixing up variety so you never feel settled. I was missing but eventually I was able to do well.

This is my first time playing a British player here, so I was a little bit nervous, I knew you guys would be for her. Thankfully you guys were pretty nice to me so that helped. Playing in front of the British crowd is great, you’re respectful, so I appreciate that.

At 15-0, another lengthy rally to match the last point from the previous game, but Gauff just isn’t missing now. 30-0 – with Kartal’s 12th unforced error of the set. And Gauff seals it with an ace. A competitive first set – but the second set went by in a blur for Kartal. The Brit can still hold her head high, having come through qualifying to claim the biggest wins of her career in rounds one and two, but it’s Gauff that moves on and she’s very much the player to beat in this half of the draw.

Gauff is running away with it on No 1. She holds for 4-0 – that’s her sixth consecutive game – and then works her way to advantage on Kartal’s serve. Deuce. Advantage Gauff, another break point. Deuce. Advantage Gauff. The pair trade forehands – the one weakness in Gauff’s game can be her forehand – and to totally disprove that point Gauff shows unwavering consistency on that wing and Kartal eventually makes the error. Gauff will serve for the match at 6-4, 5-0.

There was so much to like about Raducanu’s performance in the second round – it was so commanding and assured – and she’s looking good here too, despite blowing three break points at 0-40 on Sakkari’s serve. She still has the one break though, and leads 3-2.

Gauff, perhaps having seen in the locker room how Alcaraz finished off Tiafoe, has put her foot on the pedal now. After breaking Kartal at the start of the first set, the US Open champion does the same at the beginning of the second, though she was helped by a double fault from Kartal. Gauff consolidates the break for 6-4, 2-0 – and now it’s starting to unravel for Kartal as Gauff grabs the double break. Kartal, having held her own in the first set, is finding herself unable to match the world No 2’s power and aggression. Gauff leads 6-4, 3-0.

Source: theguardian.com

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