Carlos Alcaraz mauls Medvedev, sets his sights on Djokovic in dream Wimbledon final
LONDON–Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz delivered the Wimbledon final the world wants to see with a brutal, and at times breathtaking, demolition job on unfortunate Russian Daniil Medvedev on Friday, roaring to a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory.
The 20-year-old phenomenon will now face a battle of the generations against 36-year-old seven-time champion Novak Djokovic, who earlier on Centre Court eased past Italian young gun Jannik Sinner to reach his 35th Grand Slam final.
For seven games under the roof this felt like it could be a contest as third seed Medvedev, who like Alcaraz was contesting his first Wimbledon semi-final, kept pace with the top seed.
But from the moment Alcaraz broke the Medvedev serve for a 5-3 lead in the opening set it felt as though he had the grandest stage in tennis all to himself for a virtuoso display.
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Grand Slam semi-finals are supposed to be hard labour but at times world number one Alcaraz toyed with his opponent, working through his extensive arsenal of weapons to dismantle the 27-year-old in merciless fashion.
Two nonchalant service breaks sealed the second set and the Spaniard accelerated towards victory with another one early in the third set as Medvedev’s shoulders slumped.
Like a lion toying with its prey, the top seed offered back a couple of service breaks with some over-casual tennis but the respite was brief and Medvedev was put out of his misery in one hour and 50 minutes as Alcaraz seized on a drop shot and whipped away a forehand winner.
He is the third Spaniard to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles final after Manuel Santana and Rafa Nadal and the fourth youngest in the professional era.
Djokovic, who overwhelmed Alcaraz in the French Open semi-finals last month, is bidding for a record-equalling eighth Wimbledon crown to become the oldest men’s champion and match Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slams.
The Serbian has not lost on Centre Court for 10 years, but Alcaraz said he is ready for the challenge.
“Everybody knows it’s going to be really difficult but I will fight, I will believe that I can beat him here,” the reigning U.S. Open champion said on court.
“It will be tough but I’m ready for this. I dreamed of this since I started to play tennis, to play in a final here. It’s not time to be afraid, I will go for it.”
Alcaraz lost to Medvedev in the second round on his Wimbledon debut in 2021, when he was then ranked 75th.
Since then, however, his career trajectory has been staggering. The way he took apart the Russian, who until Friday topped the list for match wins this year and like Alcaraz won five titles in 2023, had the Centre Court fans in awe.
“I feel like I didn’t play too bad,” Medvedev told reporters. “But with Carlos, you need to be at your absolute best and that’s how you can win. Unfortunately, I was not.”
With Medvedev stationed way behind the baseline, Alcaraz began to soften up his opponent with a succession of drop shots in the early games. Then he put the hammer down.
Medvedev surrendered serve tamely at 3-4 to allow Alcaraz to bag the first set. An Alcaraz double-fault gave the Russian a break point early in the second set but that was snuffed out with an ace and two more drop shots saw the Spaniard hold.
In the following game Medvedev looked odds-on to win a point at deuce but Alcaraz showed incredible reflexes to spring from nowhere and cut off a volley, raising his fists to the sky.
He then broke serve with a rasping backhand return and from that moment on, barring a few hiccups in the third set when he began to showboat a little, was in a different league.
Of course, it will be much tougher against Djokovic, who will arrive for Sunday’s blockbuster unbeaten in 34 matches at the grasscourt slam and bidding for a fifth straight title.
Asked if Alcaraz can win, Medvedev said: “I think, yes. They never played on grass. But it’s going to be tough just because you play a guy who barely loses here.”