Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Medvedev Beats Sinner at Wimbledon and Faces Defending Champ Alcaraz Next

Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates winning against Italy's Jannik Sinner during their men's singles quarter-final tennis match on the ninth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2024. (AFP)
Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates winning against Italy's Jannik Sinner during their men's singles quarter-final tennis match on the ninth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2024. (AFP)
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Medvedev Beats Sinner at Wimbledon and Faces Defending Champ Alcaraz Next

Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates winning against Italy's Jannik Sinner during their men's singles quarter-final tennis match on the ninth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2024. (AFP)
Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates winning against Italy's Jannik Sinner during their men's singles quarter-final tennis match on the ninth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2024. (AFP)

Jannik Sinner felt ill. He was dizzy. Hadn't slept well the night before. Wimbledon's top-seeded man, who recently attained the No. 1 ranking, definitely did not want to quit playing against Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals, but things were not looking good.

Sinner was treated by a trainer and left the court during the third set Tuesday, then briefly surged before faltering again down the stretch, eventually losing to a more-aggressive-than-usual Daniil Medvedev 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3.

“I was struggling physically,” said Sinner, who had won his past five matches against Medvedev, including a five-setter in the final of the Australian Open in January. “It was not an easy moment. I tried to fight with that what I had today.”

It wasn't enough.

Not against the crafty Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion who now will face Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals at the All England Club for the second consecutive year.

“Was a bit up-and-down match, in a way, from both sides,” Medvedev said.

Alcaraz, the defending champion and No. 3 seed, took a bit of time to get going in his quarterfinal, but once he did, there was no stopping him during a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over No. 12 Tommy Paul at No. 1 Court.

“We try just to find solutions,” said Alcaraz, coming off a title at the French Open last month and seeking his fourth Grand Slam trophy. “For me, obviously, it's going to be really difficult to play my best tennis every match.”

Over at Centre Court, it was not immediately clear what was wrong with Sinner, who leaned back in his sideline chair, rested his head in a hand and had his heart rate checked before heading to the locker room. During a later changeover, Sinner draped a towel over his head.

While he did regain his usual verve, particularly on his booming forehand, and pushed the match to a fifth set — the 36th this fortnight and the most at any Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, which dates to 1968 — Sinner could not get over the line.

Even though he won more points (164-160), accumulated more winners (61-56), made fewer unforced errors (49-45), hit more aces (17-15) and finished with far fewer double-faults (11-4).

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Sinner said.

Medvedev, a 28-year-old from Russia, began playing closer to the baseline than he often does. He found the space to deliver more winners, compiling 13 in the closing set alone, broke for a 3-1 lead in the fifth, and was on his way back to the semifinals.

“Today,” Medvedev said, “a lot of tactical things worked well.”

After eliminating the 22-year-old Sinner, Medvedev now goes up against the 21-year-old Alcaraz, back-to-back tests against the two new young stars of men's tennis.

Against Paul, Alcaraz raised his level after a so-so opening set, putting together a 26-12 advantage in winners over the last three.

“When he starts building energy and building momentum ... it feels a little bit different than most of the other guys,” Paul said. “He can play some seriously amazing, amazing tennis.”

In the women’s quarterfinals, Donna Vekic reached the final four at a major for the first time in her 43rd Slam, defeating qualifier Lulu Sun 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, and French Open runner-up Jasmine Paolini eliminated No. 19 Emma Navarro 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour.

Navarro got past four-time major champion Naomi Osaka and reigning US Open champ Coco Gauff earlier in the tournament.

“I know this isn’t the last time I’m going to be in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam,” Navarro said. “I know I’ll be back.”

Vekic, a 28-year-old from Croatia, pondered quitting the sport on multiple occasions — including as recently as right before play began at Roland Garros in May.

“I didn’t have any energy, any motivation to keep practicing, keep pushing, because I felt like the last couple months I’ve given everything for tennis, and I wasn’t getting the results that I kind of expected,” Vekic said.

“Now I'm the semifinals,” Vekic said. “Not just in tennis, (but) in life, things can turn pretty fast.”

Sinner was a Wimbledon semifinalist a year ago and carried a nine-match winning streak into Tuesday, including a grass-court title at Halle, Germany, last month. He moved up to No. 1 in the ATP rankings, replacing Novak Djokovic there, on June 10 after getting to the semifinals at the French Open.

His exit follows that of the No. 1 women's seed, Iga Swiatek, in the third round. It is the first time since 2018 that both the top woman and top man are gone from Wimbledon before the semifinals. That year, Roger Federer lost in the quarterfinals, and Simona Halep in the third round.

Against Sinner in Australia, Medvedev took the first two sets. But Sinner clawed all the way back to win his first Grand Slam title.

That result dropped Medvedev’s career record in major finals to 1-5. Now he’s one victory from a seventh such appearance.

“Hopefully I can win some more Grand Slams,” Medvedev said. “I believe in myself. I believe in my tennis.”



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
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US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP

There was a lot for the US Olympic team to like on Monday. And a lot not to like.

Anthony Davis scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyrese Haliburton came up with a pair of late 3-pointers that helped stop a freefall by the Americans, and the US beat Australia 98-92 on Monday to improve to 2-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions leading into the Paris Olympics.

Devin Booker scored 16 for the US, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and three players — LeBron James, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid — finished with 10 for the Americans, who are playing host to a pair of exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week. They'll play Serbia there on Wednesday.

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported.

The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run. But Haliburton had the next six points on his 3s, pushing the lead back to 92-80.

Australia cut it to four on two separate occasions, but Booker went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 8 seconds to ensure the US would escape.

“Third quarter, we started turning the ball over," US coach Steve Kerr said. "We gave up a ton of points at the basket. Back cuts, offensive boards and so, the game shifted. It's a good lesson for us. Better to learn that lesson now than later. And this will be a good tape for us to watch. But I give Australia a ton of credit. They were great. They fought. They were really physical. Took it to us in the last quarter and a half and really made it a game.”

Second unit, again Just like in the Canada game, the so-called second unit — Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Adebayo, Davis and Booker — changed the game.

That was the group on the floor when the Americans took a game that was tied at 19-19 with 3:15 left in the first and turned it into a 39-23 lead — a 20-4 run in a span of just over 5 minutes.

Kerr used that group as his starting five to open the second half. But it’s become a clear trend already: when the US goes to its bench and can replace All-Stars with other All-Stars, it’s just going to be a massive problem for opponents who don’t have anywhere near that same level of depth.

“The strength of our team is our depth and we have to utilize our depth,” Kerr said.

It’s been something the Americans have used to their advantage in the past. Dwyane Wade led the gold-medalist 2008 US Olympic team in points, even though he was sixth in minutes on that team and came off the bench in all eight games.

Turnovers Here’s the big trouble sign right now for the US: turnovers.

FIBA games are shorter than NBA games, 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. That means there are fewer possessions and makes it even more imperative to not give the ball away.

Which the Americans did. A lot.

After committing 15 turnovers in last week's exhibition win over Canada, the US had 18 giveaways on Monday and Australia used them to fuel the comeback effort — getting 25 points off turnovers in the second half alone.

“Our turnovers, it's all about focus and execution,” Davis said.

Injury watch Kevin Durant missed his second consecutive game because of a calf strain, and with only one practice between games it wouldn’t seem likely that he plays Wednesday against Serbia either.

Derrick White, who arrived in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and got into his first practice with the team on Sunday, also didn’t play. White replaced Kawhi Leonard — who deals with knee issues — on the US roster after the Americans determined last week that it wasn’t in Leonard’s best interest to play this summer.