Alcaraz rallies to win five-set thriller

Carlos Alcaraz entered a tiebreaker down 2-1 and in danger of a third-round ouster at Wimbledon. But the defending champion took the tiebreaker and cruised to a 6-2 win in the fifth and final set to advance to the fourth round.



July 5, 2024 - 2:13 PM

LONDON (AP) — Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz came back to eliminate Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 to reach Wimbledon’s fourth round on Friday in an entertaining match between two pals that was filled with moments of brilliance and a series of momentum swings.

The third-seeded Alcaraz was outplayed for stretches by No. 29 Tiafoe but surged to the finish and improved to 12-1 for his career in fifth sets. Tiafoe fell to 6-13 in that category.

Tiafoe was not able to pull out what would have been a surprising victory for someone who arrived at Wimbledon with a sprained ligament in his right knee and a losing record this season.

He sure came close, though.

Elsewhere, French Open runner-up Jasmine Paolini advanced to the fourth round after beating 2109 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Friday.

Paolini, the No. 7 seed, was broken in the opening game of the first set but broke right back and didn’t face another break point after that. The Italian, who reached her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros before losing to Iga Swiatek, had never been past the first round in three previous appearances at Wimbledon.

She was playing under the retractable roof on No. 1 Court in the first match to get underway Friday after rain wiped out play on the outside courts in the morning.

More showers were forecast during the day. Perhaps fittingly, 86-year-old actor Dustin Hoffman — known for his title role in “Rain Man” — was in the Royal Box at Centre Court to watch Alcaraz and  Tiafoe, also under a retractable roof.

No. 12-seeded Tommy Paul of the United States moved into the fourth round, beating No. 23 Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

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