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Alcaraz, Djokovic close in on Wimbledon final blockbuster

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and seven-time winner Novak Djokovic can set-up a Wimbledon final blockbuster on Friday. However, standing in their way are Daniil Medvedev and Lorenzo Musetti, who has made the semi-final of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Alcaraz, Medvedev in repeat show

Spanish world number three Alcaraz defeated Medvedev in straight sets in last year`s semi-final at the All England Club before the Russian avenged that loss with an impressive last-four victory at the US Open. Alcaraz, 21, is bidding to reach his fourth Slam final before setting his sights on becoming only the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back.

It has been an uneven Wimbledon for the Spaniard — he was pushed to five sets by Frances Tiafoe in the third round and then needed four sets to see off Ugo Humbert and Tommy Paul. Alcaraz holds a 4-2 head-to-head lead over Medvedev, a player he likened to “a wall, every ball bounces back”. Medvedev is looking to reach a seventh Grand Slam final.

The fifth-ranked Russian, a former US Open champion, stunned top seed Jannik Sinner in five sets in the quarter-finals, gaining revenge for his defeat to the Italian in January`s Australian Open final. “It`s tough to play against Carlos because you know whatever shot you hit, he can hit a winner from there,” said Medvedev. Medvedev has hit 64 aces to Alcaraz`s 52 so far. He has dropped served eight times while Alcaraz has seen his service games breached 16 times.

Also Read: Alcaraz shrugs off hurdles

Djokovic faces Musetti in generation game

Djokovic has equalled Roger Federer`s mark by reaching a 13th Wimbledon semi-final and is two wins from matching the Swiss star`s record of eight singles titles at the All England Club. Victory in the Wimbledon final would take him to a 10th final at the tournament.

At 37, Djokovic could also become the oldest champion of the modern era, an impressive achievement for a man who underwent knee surgery as recently as last month. This season he has lost his Australian Open and French Open titles and has yet to make a final on tour. He was handed a free pass into Friday`s last-four when Alex de Minaur withdrew from their scheduled quarter-final with a hip injury.

The Serb has been in feisty mood at Wimbledon accusing fans of disrespecting him in his last-16 win over Holger Rune. “If somebody steps over the line, I react,” he said. Djokovic has a 5-1 winning record over Musetti, including a come-from-behind five-set victory at the French Open last month. That third-round match set the record for the latest finish at Roland Garros, with Djokovic completing victory at 3:07 in the morning.

Musetti, 22, also took Djokovic the distance in their first meeting at Roland Garros in 2021, when the Italian won the opening two sets of their last-16 tie before injury scuppered his hopes in the decider. “He`s a legend everywhere, but especially here at Wimbledon,” said Musetti. “I expect a big fight. It`s one of the toughest challenges. But I`m an ambitious guy and I like to be challenged.”

(With agency inputs)

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