Alcaraz faces Medvedev, and Djokovic plays Musetti in Wimbledon’s semis

Alcaraz faces Medvedev, and Djokovic plays Musetti in Wimbledon’s semis

LONDON (AP) — Carlos Alcaraz’s ability to hit any type of shot, from any position on the court, on any surface, keeps fans on the edge of their seats.

Keeps other players guessing, too.

Alcaraz delights in all of that — he loves putting on a show just as much as he enjoys knowing he makes the guys on the other side of the net uncomfortable — and figures it can only help him in the Wimbledon semifinals against Daniil Medvedev on Friday.

It’s beneficial, Alcaraz said, that opponents need to focus on whether he’ll be “able to be back (in) the point or … able to hit an unbelievable shot.”

“For me,” he said, “it’s great that they’re thinking about it.”

Alcaraz, the No. 3 seed, is seeking a second consecutive trophy at the All England Club and fourth Grand Slam title overall. His triumph last month at the French Open made him, at 21, the youngest man to collect a major trophy on hard, grass and clay courts.

Medvedev, who is seeded No. 5 and defeated No. 1 Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals, won the 2021 U.S. Open but is just 1-5 in major finals.

The other match Friday will be No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who has won seven of his men’s-record 24 Slam championships at Wimbledon, against No. 25 Lorenzo Musetti, making his debut in a major semifinal.

“Against him, you are probably more stressed, because he’s probably the best player ever — or one of the best players ever,” said the 22-year-old Musetti, who beat Taylor Fritz in five sets on Wednesday, while Djokovic got the day off because his foe, Alex de Minaur, withdrew with an injured hip.

“You walk on court with a different mentality,” said Musetti, whose 1-5 record against Djokovic includes a five-set loss at this year’s French Open that ended at after 3 a.m. “If I play in a certain way, I could have my shot in the next round.”

Alcaraz vs. Medvedev is a rematch from last year’s semifinals, when Alcaraz won in straight sets before getting past Djokovic in the final.

It also offers a contrast between a talented attacker (Alcaraz) and a consummate defender (Medvedev).

“The most difficult thing about facing Daniil, or the most special thing about him, is he can reach every ball,” Alcaraz said. “Well, he is like a wall. Every ball bounces back.”

Asked what Alcaraz’s best quality is, Medvedev began this way: “To be honest, everything.”

That sounds like an exaggeration.

Might not be.

“That’s where it’s tough to play against him, because you know whatever shot you hit, he can hit a winner from there. So you try to make his life difficult. You try to hit the shot as good as you can. Maybe he goes for it and he cannot make it,” said Medvedev, who has won just two of their previous six encounters.

“Carlos can do whatever, from any position,” Medvedev said, “and that’s not easy to play against.”

Tommy Paul, the 12th-seeded American who lost to Alcaraz in the quarterfinals, put something else on the lengthy list of the Spaniard’s attributes.

“He moves unbelievably well. He’s probably the quickest player. It’s very hard to get the ball by him,” Paul said. “Grass suits him. He moves incredible on the grass. It’s not easy to change direction the way that he does. He stays pretty low. Yeah, I mean, it’s not easy.”

And then, in a nod to the sort of highlight-reel material Alcaraz regularly produces, Paul added: “Half of the job when you’re out there is not to let him win one of those crazy points — because when he does, he kind of gets on a roll.”

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