Super-sub Watkins sends England past Netherlands and into Euro 2024 final

Super-sub Watkins sends England past Netherlands and into Euro 2024 final
Super-sub Watkins sends England past Netherlands and into Euro 2024 final

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev set up a Wimbledon semifinal repeat on Tuesday as Donna Vekic ended the magical run of New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun.

Alcaraz battled back from a set down to defeat Tommy Paul 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 while Medvedev stunned world No. 1 Jannik Sinner, who suffered a mid-match health scare, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-3.

Vekic recovered to defeat Sun 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 to reach her first Slam semifinal where she will take on Italian late bloomer Jasmine Paolini, who swept past Emma Navarro 6-2, 6-1.

Spanish world No. 3 Alcaraz, seeking a fourth Grand Slam title, was broken twice by 12th-seeded Paul in a 72-minute first set.

Paul raced into a two-game lead in the second set before Alcaraz got back on level terms.

Three breaks in the third set put the Spaniard in charge and he stepped up another gear in the fourth, making just four unforced errors.

Alcaraz, seeking to become just the sixth man to capture the French Open and Wimbledon titles back to back, defeated Medvedev in straights sets in last year’s Wimbledon semifinals.

“Hopefully I’m going to get the same result,” he said.

“But he won against Jannik Sinner, the best player right now, so I know that he’s in really good shape.”

Fifth-ranked Medvedev avenged his Australian Open final loss to Sinner in a four-hour quarterfinal win.

Medvedev, 28, will be playing in his ninth Grand Slam semifinal.

Sinner, a semifinalist in 2023, required medical treatment early in the third set as he appeared dazed and unsteady on his feet.

He had his blood pressure taken before undergoing a medical time-out.

“It’s always tricky because you want to play more points to make him suffer a little bit more but in a good way,” said Medvedev.

In a tight first set in which neither man gave up a break point, Medvedev edged ahead in the tie-break on the back of a lung-busting 33-shot rally.

However, he squandered a set point and his game suddenly fell apart, serving up a double fault as Sinner pocketed the opener.

The mercurial Russian levelled the quarter-final before Sinner summoned the tournament physio after falling a break down in the third set.

After a 10-minute delay, the 22-year-old resumed play and thrilled the Center Court crowd when he bravely clawed his way back to 5-5.

He then wasted two set points, which allowed Medvedev to sweep through the tie-break.

However, the Italian was undaunted and levelled the quarter-final before Medvedev finished the fresher of the two players, breaking in the fourth game of the final set on his way to victory.

“I was not feeling great. I didn’t vomit but I took some time because I was dizzy quite a lot,” said Sinner.

Vekic has reached the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time at the 43rd attempt.

“I felt like I was dying out there in the first two sets but I just kept going, hoping to have a chance and it came in the end,” said the 28-year-old world No. 37.

Sun, ranked 123rd in the world, was playing her eighth match of the tournament, including qualifying, in two weeks and the strain eventually told.

“Maybe if I could have moved faster, maybe if I didn’t have the cramps, who knows what would have happened,” said Sun, who will rise into the top 60 thanks to her All England Club run.

Italian seventh seed Paolini, the runner-up at the French Open last month, needed just 57 minutes to see off Navarro, the conqueror of second-ranked Coco Gauff in the last round.

The 28-year-old, who had not won a tour-level main draw match on grass before this year, fired 19 winners to her opponent’s six.

“It’s a dream to be here in this position, to be in the semifinal,” said Paolini, the first Italian woman in the Open era to make the last four.

The tournament’s remaining quarterfinals take place on Wednesday, with seven-time champion Novak Djokovic facing Alex de Minaur, while Taylor Fritz clashes with Lorenzo Musetti.

In the women’s draw, 2022 champion Elena Rybakina tackles Elina Svitolina, with Jelena Ostapenko and Barbora Krejcikova meeting in a clash of former French Open champions.

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