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Carlos Alcaraz advances to Wimbledon quarter-final despite struggles with serve

Defending Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz lost serve five times in the last two sets against Ugo Humbert but recovered after that late slump to advance to the quarter-finals.

Alcaraz had spent nearly four hours on court during a dramatic victory over Frances Tiafoe on Friday and looked in a hurry to progress when he raced into a two-set lead.

Humbert responded with aplomb to break Alcaraz three times to force a fourth set where two more breaks put him 4-3 up.

But the world number three moved through the gears to claim a 6-3 6-4 1-6 7-5 triumph on day seven of the Championships.

The Spaniard had produced slow starts in his previous three matches, winning first-set tie-breaks against qualifier Mark Lajal and unseeded Aleksandar Vukic before he lost the opener to Tiafoe, but it was a different story this time.

With the Centre Court roof closed in anticipation for wet weather, Alcaraz broke his opponent in the fifth game.

A first set point came and went on Humbert's serve but a lovely forehand pass by Alcaraz forced a second, which was taken.

Humbert had barely laid a glove on Alcaraz's service game by this point, but that changed midway through the second set.

A marathon game saw Humbert create four break point opportunities at 2-2.

Alcaraz dug deep to repel the Frenchman, with brilliant net play able to thwart the final chance before he showed the ruthlessness of a three-time grand slam champion with a break to take the set.

Humbert sent a simple volley wide to gift Alcaraz the break, with the current Wimbledon champion earning the adulation of Centre Court after he twice scrambled across the baseline to return before a third slide along the grass helped force the error.

History looked set to repeat itself for Humbert, who had lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets when he last made the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019, but the left-hander hit back.

Alcaraz was broken at the start of the third and two more followed, the last when Humbert sent a sweet backhand down the line.

The prospect of another five-setter appeared dispelled by Alcaraz, though, when he was able to break immediately into the fourth.

However, it sparked a chaotic period where Humbert broke back and Alcaraz established a 3-1 lead before the world number 16 won three games in a row and was 0-40 during the eighth service game.

Alcaraz produced two aces to clinch a huge hold and a sumptuous forehand bent over the net secured another, which was followed by a decisive break.

Alcaraz brought up match point with a supreme drop shot before another ace, this time only 103mph, sent him through to the last eight.

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