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Alcaraz beats Muller to seal first victory on Centre Court

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz returns the ball to France's Alexandre Muller during their men's singles tennis match on the fifth day of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2023. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Carlos Alcaraz provided the entertainment during his maiden victory on Wimbledon's Centre Court but it was the end of the road for local hope Andy Murray, who lifted two titles on the hallowed turf, on a day of gloom for British tennis.

Spanish top seed Alcaraz mixed power hitting, fearsome returning and delicate drop shots to beat Frenchman Alexandre Muller 6-4 7-6(2) 6-3 before declaring he belonged on the "really beautiful court" and hoped for a final with Novak Djokovic.

"I feel like I'm ready to play more matches, to play more great matches on that court," U.S. Open champion Alcaraz said after reaching the third round.

"It would be amazing to play a final here in Wimbledon. Even better if is against Novak obviously."

Shortly after the 20-year-old's victory, Murray - a man 16 years his senior - fell short in his bid for another age-defying victory as Stefanos Tsitsipas prevailed 7-6(3) 6-7(2) 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4 to silence a partisan Centre Court crowd.

"It's never easy against Andy. Everyone loves him here. It was a very difficult game and I'm impressed how well he holds up after his hip surgeries and his level today," Tsitsipas said of his opponent, who plays with a partly metal hip.

"It was nerve-racking. It was an obstacle and it's extra difficult when you've grown up watching him play on this court."

British hopes were further dashed as American Christopher Eubanks claimed the biggest win of his career by stunning 12th seed Cameron Norrie 6-3 3-6 6-2 7-6(3) on Court One.

"There's tons of really good players who play professional tennis who never get the chance to play the number one Brit at Wimbledon in an atmosphere like this," Eubanks said.

"It didn't even matter how many people were for me or against me, this is something I'll never forget for the rest of my life."

British representation in the men's singles ended when Liam Broady lost 4-6 6-2 7-5 7-5 to 26th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the third round.


On the women's side, Top seed Iga Swiatek kept her campaign on track with a 6-2 7-5 defeat of Croatia's Petra Martic as she reached the fourth round without dropping a set.

The four-time Grand Slam champion was made to work harder than the scoreline suggests but was still relatively untroubled as she matched her best run at the championships.

She will face Swiss 14th seed Belinda Bencic next.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus - the 2021 semi-finalist - shrugged off a poor first set to beat Varvara Gracheva 2-6 7-5 6-2.

Lesia Tsurenko later won a dramatic match against Ana Bogdan after saving five match points and winning a 38-point tiebreak, the longest in women's singles Grand Slam history.

The Ukrainian and her fellow unseeded opponent from Romania split the opening two sets but an incredible battle for the ages unfolded at 6-6 as Tsurenko dug deep to win 4-6 6-3 7-6(18).

Later, Tunisian Ons Jabeur made quick work of Chinese qualifier Bai Zhuoxuan with a 6-1 6-1 win in 45 minutes.

Twice former champion Petra Kvitova cruised into the third round after the ninth seed brushed aside Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-2.

She was joined by Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk whose Spanish opponent Paula Badosa retired with a back injury.

Badosa, the 25-year-old girlfriend of Tsitsipas, also pulled out of the mixed doubles in which she was scheduled to play alongside the Greek.

Last year's quarter-finalist Jannik Sinner of Italy, seeded eighth, recovered from a poor start to beat Frenchman Quentin Halys 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-4, while Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev downed Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 7-6(5).

- Reuters