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Number 1 falls | Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LONDON — Jannik Sinner felt unwell. He was dizzy and hadn’t slept well the night before. The top-seeded player at Wimbledon, who had recently reached the world No. 1 ranking, was determined not to give up his quarterfinal match against Daniil Medvedev, but things weren’t looking good.

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

“I had physical problems,” said Sinner, who has won his last five matches against Medvedev, including a five-set Australian Open final in January. “It wasn’t an easy moment. I tried to fight what I had today.”

That wasn’t enough against the wily Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion, who will now face Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals at the All England Club for the second time in a row.

“It was, in a way, a match full of ups and downs, from both sides,” Medvedev said.

Alcaraz, the defending champion and third seed, took some time to get going in the quarterfinals, but once he did, there was no stopping him in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over 12th seed Tommy Paul on Court No. 1.

“We’re just trying to find solutions,” said Alcaraz, who won the French Open title last month and was seeking a fourth Grand Slam trophy. “For me, of course, it’s going to be really difficult to play my best in every match.”

It wasn’t immediately clear on Centre Court what was wrong with Sinner, who leaned back in a chair on the sideline, rested his head on his hand and checked his pulse before heading to the locker room. During a later changeover, Sinner threw a towel over his head.

Though he regained his usual verve, particularly with a powerful forehand, and took the match to a fifth set — his 36th this week and the most in Grand Slam history in the Open era, which has spanned 1968 — Sinner failed to cross the finish line.

Despite winning more points (164-160), he had more winners (61-56), made fewer unforced errors (49-45), made more aces (17-15) and finished the tournament with significantly fewer double faults (11-4).

“That’s a hard thing to swallow,” Sinner said.

Medvedev, a 28-year-old from Russia, began playing closer to the baseline than usual. He found the space to produce more winners, racking up 13 in the final set alone, breaking for a 3-1 lead in the fifth and en route to a return to the semifinals.

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

After eliminating the 22-year-old Sinner, Medvedev will now face the 21-year-old Alcaraz in what will be two matches that will test the skills of both young stars of men’s tennis.

Against Paul, Alcaraz improved his performance after a mediocre first set, gaining a 26-12 advantage in the last three sets he won.

“When he starts building energy and momentum… it seems a little different than most other guys,” Paul said. “He can play some really incredible, incredible tennis.”

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

Navarro defeated four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff earlier in the tournament.

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

Vekic, a 28-year-old from Croatia, has thought about ending his playing career several times, including just before the start of Roland Garros in May.

“I had no energy, no motivation to keep practicing, to keep pushing, because I felt like I was giving everything for tennis for the last few months and I wasn’t getting the results I expected,” Vekic said.

“Now I’m in the semifinals. Not just in tennis, (but) in life, things can happen very quickly.”

Sinner was a Wimbledon semifinalist a year ago and had led a nine-match winning streak into Tuesday, including the title on grass in Halle, Germany, last month. He rose to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, replacing Novak Djokovic, on June 10 after reaching the French Open semifinals.

His departure follows the exit of women’s No. 1 seed Iga Świątek in the third round. It is the first time since 2018 that both the top female and top male players have exited Wimbledon before the semifinals. This year, Roger Federer lost in the quarterfinals and Simona Halep in the third round.

In the match against Sinner in Australia, Medvedev won the first two sets. However, Sinner recovered all his losses and won his first Grand Slam title.

The result dropped Medvedev’s record in major finals to 1-5. He is now one win away from making his seventh such appearance.

“I hope I can win a few more Grand Slams,” Medvedev said. “I believe in myself. I believe in my tennis.”

Donna Vekic of Croatia reacts during her quarterfinal match against Lulu Sun of New Zealand at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Italian Jannik Sinner plays a forehand return against Russian Daniil Medvedev during their quarterfinal match at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Jannik Sinner plays a forehand return against Russian Daniil Medvedev during their quarterfinal match at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Russian Daniil Medvedev celebrates his victory over Italian Yannik Sinner in the quarterfinal match at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz plays a forehand return to American Tommy Paul during their quarterfinal match at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Tommy Paul of the United States plays a forehand return against Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their quarterfinal match at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz reacts during his quarter-final match against American Tommy Paul at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Emma Navarro of the United States plays a forehand return against Jasmine Paolini of Italy during their quarterfinal match at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Jannik Sinner reacts as he receives help from his coach during his quarterfinal match against Russian Daniil Medvedev at Wimbledon in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)