Alcaraz into last eight as 'high level' overcomes Humbert

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz defeated Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final [PA Media]

Carlos Alcaraz inched a step closer to successfully defending his Wimbledon title with a hard-fought victory over Ugo Humbert.

The 21-year-old Spaniard held off a late charge from 16th seed Humbert to win 6-3 6-4 1-6 7-5 and move into the last eight at SW19.

It took Alcaraz’s winning streak at Grand Slams to 11 following his French Open triumph last month.

“I feel great playing today, I think I played a really high level,” he said.

“Playing a leftie, I try not to think about it and play my own game.”

Alcaraz will next face compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut or American 12th seed Tommy Paul, the Queen’s Club champion.

It seemed unlikely Sunday’s opening match on Centre Court would live up to the five-set classic Alcaraz played against Frances Tiafoe on Friday.

And it became even more improbable when, with little effort, he found himself two sets up in what appeared a relatively dull encounter.

But the three-time major winner suddenly faltered in the third set and Humbert stepped up to take advantage.

The Frenchman, 26, raised his intensity, hitting the chalk with brilliant winners and breaking serve three times to force a fourth set.

Both players struggled to hold in a tense set, and an increasingly frustrated Alcaraz turned to the crowd and his team for help, waving his arms animatedly to stir up support.

With their backing, the defending champion found another gear, impressively holding his serve under immense pressure and breaking for a 6-5 lead. Alcaraz then served out the match and, relieved, he applauded all four corners of Centre Court in appreciation.

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