Wimbledon semifinals set

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic headline a star-studded Wimbledon semifinals round as each bids for a return to the title match. Alcaraz is the defending champion.

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July 11, 2024 - 2:14 PM

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning against to US player Frances Tiafoe during their men's singles tennis match on the fifth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 5, 2024. Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

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.

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