Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz overcame an early challenge to secure his spot in the third round of Wimbledon on Wednesday, delivering a commanding performance against Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic. The third seed, who faced a few hurdles initially, ultimately triumphed in straight sets, showcasing his resilience and skill.

Alcaraz, ranked third, faced a tough opponent in the 69th-ranked Vukic. The Spaniard had to dig deep to claim the first set, which set the tone for the match. Despite taking an early lead of 5-2, Alcaraz found himself trailing 5-6 after a brief lapse. However, under pressure, he broke back to force a tie-break, where he regained his composure and dominated. The final score of the first set was 7-6 (7/5), a critical juncture that turned the tide in Alcaraz’s favor.

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With the momentum on his side, Alcaraz shifted into high gear, delivering an impressive performance in the subsequent sets. He broke Vukic twice in the second set, winning it 6-2, and repeated this feat in the third set, sealing it with another 6-2 victory. Throughout the match, Alcaraz pounded a total of 42 winners, demonstrating his offensive prowess and strategic acumen on the court.

The match concluded in one hour and 48 minutes, a testament to Alcaraz’s efficiency and dominance after the initial set. This victory was particularly satisfying for Alcaraz, considering his history with Vukic. The Australian had defeated a then 17-year-old Alcaraz in the qualifying rounds at Roland Garros in 2020. This time, on the grass courts of the All England Club, Alcaraz ensured there was no repeat of that upset.

“I’m really happy about my performance today,” Alcaraz said post-match. “The first set was the key for me. He served for the set, then I played a really good tie-break. In the second set and third set, I played at a really high level, so I’m really happy about it.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion, who defeated Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final, is on a mission to become only the sixth man to win both the French Open and Wimbledon titles back-to-back. The elite group he aims to join includes Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

Looking ahead, Alcaraz is set to face Frances Tiafoe, the American player he bested in a five-set thriller during the semi-finals of the 2022 US Open. Tiafoe, ranked 29th, promises to be a formidable opponent. Alcaraz acknowledged the challenge, highlighting Tiafoe’s talent and adaptability, especially on grass courts.

“I’m going for him,” Alcaraz stated confidently. “We played a really good match in the US Open. I know he is a really talented player, a tough one, even tougher on grass with his style. Good volley, good slices. It is going to be a very difficult match for me. I’m ready to take that challenge.”

Alcaraz’s promise to “put on a show” against Tiafoe sets the stage for an exciting and highly anticipated match. With his current form and determination, fans can expect another thrilling encounter as Alcaraz continues his quest for consecutive Grand Slam titles. The young champion’s journey through Wimbledon this year is not just about defending his title but also about cementing his place among the greats of the sport.