Monday, July 15, 2024

Alcaraz’s Wimbledon defence takes a hit


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LONDON, June 20: Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz’s buildup took a hit when he lost in the second round of Queen’s Club on Thursday.
Alcaraz, the defending Queen’s champion and top seed, lost to Jack Draper 7-6 (3), 6-3.
For Draper, the British No. 1, it was the biggest win of his career. He was impressively composed in front of his home crowd.
Queen’s was Alcaraz’s only grass-court preparation last year en route to winning Wimbledon for the first time.
But this time, the Spaniard will have only two grass matches under his belt following his French Open victory. Wimbledon starts in 11 days.
Draper ended Alcaraz’s eight-match win streak while extending his own to seven after winning his first ATP title last week in Stuttgart.
Draper didn’t drop serve against Alcaraz. They were finally separated in the first set in the tie-break, where Draper shot to 4-0 then 6-1. Alcaraz netted a return to concede the set.
Alcaraz suffered the only break in the sixth game of the second set after Draper’s backhand return serve down the line.
Draper saved a break point to hold for 5-2, then Alcaraz saved three match points to hold. Draper served out and threw his arms in the air.
“I knew I had to come out here and play really well, and luckily I did that,” he said on court.
He faces fifth-seeded Tommy Paul in the quarterfinals.
Andy Murray retired from his second-round match at Queen’s Club because of a back injury on Wednesday, raising doubts about what is expected to be his final Wimbledon appearance.
The 37-year-old Murray stopped playing while trailing Jordan Thompson 4-1, and the former No. 1 player said he’d get scans on Thursday.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, who has signaled his intention to retire later this year, said he “wouldn’t know” about whether he’ll be ready when play starts July 1 at the All England Club.
Murray, who has won the Queen’s Club title five times, said he was experiencing problems with his right leg even before getting to the court. He was in obvious pain during the warmup and into the match.
After three games, Murray received treatment on his surgically repaired right hip, right knee and lower back.
Earlier, Sebastian Korda beat former Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov to reach the quarterfinals at the grass-court tournament.
Korda, who reached the final on grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week as he prepares for Wimbledon, won their second-round match 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
“It was a big struggle. We were both serving well and waiting for our chances and there weren’t many. But when they came, I tried to take them,” said the 23rd-ranked Korda. “It is incredible playing at Queen’s, it is one of my favorite tournaments.” Dimitrov won the Queen’s Club title in 2014.
It was Korda’s seventh victory over a Top 10 opponent. He will next take on Rinky Hijikata for a spot in the semifinals. Hijikata defeated Italian player Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 (0), 7-6 (7). (PTI)


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