Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner sharp at Wimbledon in the fourth round

On the first day of fourth round play at Wimbledon, Alcaraz and Sinner proved why they are the future of men's tennis.
Jannik Sinner at Wimbledon 2024
Jannik Sinner at Wimbledon 2024 / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Jannik Sinner did not have to work quite as hard in his fourth-round match at Wimbledon as Carlos Alcaraz did in his. The odd part was that Alcaraz looked dominant through his first two sets against Ugo Humbert and then he, well...didn't. Humbert took the third set 6-1 and we seemed to have a match again. Only we, well...didn't.

The third set was serve for serve but the match just felt like one of those already-classic matches for Alcaraz where he gets a break late in the final set and then serves out the match. That is exactly what happened against the Frenchman as the Spaniard got the break to lead 5-4. To close out the match, Alcaraz hit one of his ridiculously good shots where he dug out a sliced backhand and then wrapped a forehand around the pole.

That kind of shot-making is what is likely to lead to a long-term rivalry between Alcaraz and Sinner. The two are only 21 months apart in age with Sinner the senior, but the Italian is only 23 years old and the Spaniard is only 21. Tennis fans might not have a new Big 3, but we certainly have the beginnings of a great Big 2. Maybe another young player can close the gap and help two turn into three.

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz move into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon

Sinner might have been even more impressive in his match against Ben Shelton. The American has made a habit of taking all but one of his career Wimbledon matches to five sets. As well as he can serve, Sinner can do nearly as well with returns. While Alcaraz won 6-3 6-4 1-6 7-5, the Italian took his match 6-2 6-4 7-6(9).

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The Italian also mirrored Alcaraz's phenomenal shot-making. Leading 40-30 and needing to hold to push the third set to 5-all, Sinner served and Shelton hit an excellent return right at Sinner who could only quickly react by his the ball between his legs. That barely got over the net, Shelton hit a solid forehand, but then Sinner hit an incredible cross-court forehand to take the game.

Shelton will be a dangerous player at Wimbledon soon. He just doesn't yet have the ability to keep his level against top players throughout an entire match. He forced the third set to a tie-break, but after getting to 9-10, the American double-faulted and Sinner got the victory.

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