Copy of 595885-01-02-1720346022168
Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning against US player Frances Tiafoe during their men's singles tennis match on the fifth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Image Credit: AFP

London: Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz targets the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Sunday against a piano-loving Frenchman.

Emma Raducanu has British fans dreaming she can add the 2024 Wimbledon title to her 2021 US Open crown, while American Ben Shelton is following in his father’s footsteps.

AFP Sport looks at three fourth-round matches to watch on the seventh day of action at the All England Club:

Copy of 601771-01-02-1720346019053
France's Ugo Humbert celebrates winning against US player Brandon Nakashima during their men's singles at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Image Credit: AFP

Alcaraz looks to stop the music

Carlos Alcaraz is chasing a fourth Grand Slam title and attempting to become just the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back.

The Spanish world No 3 twice trailed by a set before defeating Frances Tiafoe in the third round.

“I realise that I’m good player in the fifth set. I push the opponent just to be at his 100 per cent physically and mentally, and play at his 100 per cent. Sometimes for the other player it is difficult to keep at this kind of intensity in a fifth set,” said Alcaraz.

World No 16 Ugo Humbert is in the last 16 for the second time, five years after also reaching the same stage.

Away from the courts, the left-handed French No 1 can be found playing the piano, a passion since he was five years old.

“I love music. I play a little bit of electric guitar, but I’m better at piano,” he said

“When you play piano, you are only with you. It’s great to have the time to be alone, to enjoy. In tennis, it’s the opposite.”

Copy of 596501-01-02-1720346015478
Britain's Emma Raducanu celebrates winning against Greece's Maria Sakkari during their women's singles. Image Credit: AFP

Raducanu turns back clock

Three years after her breakthrough summer when a run to the last 16 at Wimbledon was followed by a historic US Open title, Emma Raducanu is making headlines again.

The British star, now ranked 135 after a depressing run of injuries, indifferent form and questionable coaching changes, finds herself with a potentially clear run to the semi-finals.

On Sunday, the 21-year-old faces Lulu Sun, the first New Zealand woman in the fourth round since 1959.

If she gets through that, a quarter-final date with either Paula Badosa or Donna Vekic awaits.

Raducanu’s win over Maria Sakkari on Friday was just her second over a top 10 player — both have come in the last two weeks.

“I’m just trying to cherish every moment I have here,” said Raducanu.

The 23-year-old Sun, a 123rd-ranked qualifier, had only played and lost one Grand Slam match before this Wimbledon.

She is guaranteed to earn at least $340,000 for her efforts — more than she has made in her entire career so far.

Sun will also be headline news in her sleepy home town of Te Anau which she described as having “more sheep and deer than people”.

Copy of 601973-01-02-1720346013029
USA's Ben Shelton returns against Canada's Denis Shapovalov during their men's singles tennis match. Image Credit: AFP

Family guy Shelton

Ben Shelton has made Wimbledon a family affair, reaching the fourth round 30 years after his father Bryan made the same stage.

“We’re back, big dog,” the 21-year-old American told his dad after seeing off Denis Shapovalov in the third round.

Back in 1994, Bryan Shelton stunned former champion Michael Stich in the first round before eventually being knocked out by Sweden’s Christian Bergstrom.

On Sunday, the 14th-ranked Shelton takes on world number one and Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner for a place in the quarter-finals.

Shelton defeated the Italian in their first meeting at Shanghai in 2023 before Sinner came out on top in Vienna later that season and at Indian Wells earlier this year.