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Wimbledon 2024 five quick hits: Carlos Alcaraz wins thriller, Coco Gauf and Emma Raducanu win through

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The defending men’s champion Carlos Alcaraz has to dig deep to see off an inspired Frances Tiafoe at a soggy Wimbledon on day five.

Meanwhile, a home favourite’s tournament comes to an end, Serena Williams says playing with Andy Murray was one of the highlights of her life, and Wimbledon’s participation prize gets some love.

Here’s the five quick hits from the All England Club.

1. Alcaraz digs deep

Carlos Alcaraz screams

Carlos Alcaraz needed five sets to battle through to the fourth round.(AP Photo: Alberto Pezzali)

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz came dangerously close to relinquishing his crown against American Frances Tiafoe under the roof on Centre Court, but battled through with a 5-7 6-2 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2 victory.

Alcaraz came under intense pressure throughout a spellbinding third-round contest played in a superb spirit that had the crowd fully involved.

With his back to the wall when trailing by two sets to one and being outplayed by the swashbuckling Tiafoe, the Spanish third seed suddenly found an extra gear to seize control.

Tiafoe had looked on the verge of avenging the heart-breaking five-set defeat he suffered against Alcaraz in the semifinals of the 2022 US Open deep in the fourth set.

But 21-year-old Alcaraz responded in devastating fashion to blaze through the tiebreak and the fifth set was one-way traffic as Tiafoe’s energy levels finally ebbed away.

“It was really difficult to adapt my game and to find solutions to put him in trouble today,” Alcaraz said.

“I had difficult moments in the fourth set but was thinking just fight one more ball.” 

At 4-4, 0-30 on the Alcaraz serve in the fourth set, it seemed Tiafoe was closing in on a huge shock. But it was the closest he came.

Fans sit under umbrellas with rain on the camera lense

The tennis was great. The weather, less so.(AP Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

When Alcaraz won a point he had no right to, clawing back a Tiafoe volley to lead 2-0 in the breaker, he raised his fist aloft to crowd and was suddenly re-energised as he took an epic tussle into a deciding set.

“I realise that good players in the fifth set, push 100 per cent physically and mentally,” Alcaraz said.

“Sometimes for the other player, is difficult to keep at this kind of intensity, this kind of level during the fifth set.

“In my head I’m thinking that I’m good at it, and they have to believe that I’m going to win, I’m going to play my best tennis.”

A humdinger of a match was played in great spirit with Alcaraz twice going around the net to check on Tiafoe after the American slipped over on the grass. 

They also shared a warm embrace at the net after Alcaraz clinched victory with a drop shot.

“Just ultimate respect. Him just saying, ‘It’s good to see you play like that’. Me just saying, ‘I can’t stand you!’,” Tiafoe told reporters of that moment. 

“I told him to go for another great run.”

2. Mixed day for home-town stars

Coco Gauf and Sonay Kartal shake hands

Coco Gauff (left), ended the dream run of British player Sonay Kartal.(AP Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Coco Gauff has been a crowd favourite at Wimbledon ever since she burst onto the grass as a 15-year-old by beating Venus Williams in the first round in 2019.

So it was slightly strange for the American to know that a large section of the crowd would be rooting against her in the third round on Friday as she took on surprise packet Sonay Kartal, a British qualifier who had exceeded expectations just by making the third round.

“I think this is my first time ever playing a British player here, so I was a little bit nervous honestly, going in,” Gauff told the crowd after wrapping up a 6-4, 6-0 win on Number One Court. 

“Because I knew you guys would be for her. Which is totally understandable.

“Thankfully you guys are pretty nice to me,” she said, “so that helped.”

There was something for the home crowd to cheer though, as Emma Raducanu smashed Greek ninth seed Maria Sakkari 6-2 6-3 on Centre Court.

Emma Raducanu holds her head

Emma Raducanu defeated the ninth seed Maria Sakkari on her way to the fourth round.(AP Photo: Alberto Pezzali)

Sakkari must have feared the worst from the moment Raducanu nonchalantly flicked a lob that appeared to be drifting long before it dropped inches inside the baseline to earn her a break and a hollering ovation.

So it proved to be as Britain’s only female singles grand slam champion in the past four decades roared into the fourth round.

Raducanu needed a wildcard invite from organisers to even compete at her home major as her ranking has plummeted to 135th after an injury-plagued 2023.

But demonstrating a steely resolve and showing flashes of the brilliance that unexpectedly carried her to the 2021 Flushing Meadows title, Raducanu once again made a mockery of her ranking difference with a show-stopping performance.

3. Kiwi star sets up 65-year first

Lulu Sun tosses the ball in the air

Lulu Sun is playing at her first Wimbledon championships.(AP Photo: Mosa’ab Elshamy)

New Zealand has a new tennis star to get behind, after 23-year-old qualifier Lulu Sun reached the fourth-round.

The last woman from New Zealand to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon was Ruia Morrison in 1959.

Sun extended her dream run by beating China’s Zhu Lin 7-6(4) 7-6(6) to set up a clash with Raducanu.

“I wasn’t expecting to be here at this stage, but I’ve just been playing match-by-match. But yeah, here I am,” she said.

Sun was born in the south of New Zealand to a Croatian father and Chinese mother and lived with her mum and grandmother in a small town with “more sheep and deer” than people.

“Chinese obviously from my mum’s side, is very disciplined, hard-working. From my dad’s side, Croatian, he’s from the seaside, so very laid back and calm,” she said of her heritage.

“I guess that’s a good combo. And then Swiss side is, like, neutral, yeah! From New Zealand I get that adventure side.”

Sun only made her grand slam main draw debut at the Australian Open after making it through qualifying.

However, by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, the woman ranked 123rd in the world is set to more than double her career earnings of US$313,000.

4. Serena Williams shows her love for Andy Murray

Andy Murray and Serena Williams cover their mouths and talk

Andy Murray and Serena Williams played together in the mixed doubles in 2019.(Getty Images: SNS Group/Bill Murray)

Serena Williams added to the chorus of love for British player Andy Murray in a video in which she said playing with him in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon was one of her all-time highlights.

Murray and Williams reached the third round together in 2019.

“I had the pleasure of playing mixed doubles by your side, which was such a fantastic experience to do that at Wimbledon,” Williams said.



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