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Alcaraz, Sinner eye Wimbledon third round

Alcaraz, Sinner eye Wimbledon third round

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Alcaraz, Sinner eye Wimbledon third round

World number one Jannik Sinner takes on Italian compatriot and former runner-up Matteo Berrettini for a place in the Wimbledon third round on Wednesday.

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and four-time major winner Naomi Osaka also target places in the last 32.

Alcaraz faces a man who once defeated him in a Grand Slam qualifier while Osaka’s rival is the daughter of an American billionaire.

AFP Sport looks at three matches to watch on day three of the tournament:

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Sinner faces all-Italian duel with Berrettini

Italian men’s tennis has rarely been stronger, with the country boasting five players in the top 50 while the nation swept to Davis Cup glory last season.

Ten Italian men started the singles tournament this year at Wimbledon.

Jannik Sinner was the first Italian man to capture a Grand Slam title with his victory at the Australian Open in January and was also the first from his country to become world number one.

Matteo Berrettini can boast his own breakthrough Italian moment when he was the first to make a Wimbledon men’s final in 2021, where his run was ended by Novak Djokovic.

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Sinner, who made the semi-finals at the All England Club last year, defeated Berrettini in their only previous meeting at the Masters-level event in Canada last year.

“I think his secret is that he is really hungry for improvement. That’s his secret. And the humbleness that he has about it. He’s just special,” said Berrettini of his compatriot.

Alcaraz eyes revenge for rare defeat

Third-ranked Carlos Alcaraz is bidding to become just the sixth man after Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to win the French Open and Wimbledon titles back to back.

He defeated dreadlocked Estonian qualifier Mark Lajal in the first round on Monday as he started his bid for a fourth Grand Slam title after adding last year’s Wimbledon to his 2022 US Open breakthrough.

Aleksandar Vukic enjoyed an impressive run to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne grass-court tournament last week after only making the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying.

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The 28-year-old Australian, ranked at 69 in the world, was born in Sydney after his parents fled Montenegro during the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

He booked his date with Alcaraz the hard way, saving a match point in a five-set triumph over Sebastian Ofner, facing down 24 aces and 72 winners from the Austrian.

Vukic can boast one career win over Alcaraz – he came out on top against the then 17-year-old Spaniard in the first round of qualifying for the 2020 French Open.

Osaka seeks stress-free day on grass

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka defeated Diane Parry of France in the first round to register her first win at Wimbledon since 2018.

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Former world number one Osaka, still feeling her way back on tour after giving birth to daughter Shai last July, fired 34 winners past Parry on a surface that should be the perfect fit for her powerful game.

“It felt really fun and really stressful at the same time,” said 113th-ranked Osaka, whose last appearance at Wimbledon in 2019 had ended in a first round exit.

On Wednesday, the Japanese star takes on America’s 17th-ranked Emma Navarro, who arrived in London on the back of a semi-final run at the Bad Homburg grass-court tournament.

Navarro has high achievement in the genes – her father Ben Navarro is a former vice-president of banking giant Citigroup.

Forbes recently estimated his worth at $1.5 billion. 

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Former Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is joining Hajduk Split after Saudi Pro League club Al-Shabab terminated his contract by mutual consent following a six-month spell.

The 36-year-old scored once in eight games after joining Al-Shabab in January 2024 as they finished eighth on 52 points.

“The club management agreed with the Croatian player Ivan Rakitic to terminate the contractual relationship between the two parties by mutual consent,” the Saudi club posted on the X social media platform.

Hajduk Split on Sunday announced the signing of the former Barcelona and Sevilla midfielder for one season with the option of an extra year in what will be his first campaign in Croatia.

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Rakitic, who was born in Switzerland, played 106 games for Croatia, scoring 15 goals, and helped the country reach the World Cup final in 2018. 

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Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

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Croatia's Vida retires from international football

Croatia defender Domagoj Vida has retired from international soccer after 14 years in the national team, the Croatian Football Federation said on Sunday.

Vida, 35, made his international debut in May 2010 and has played 105 matches for Croatia. He was part of the Croatia side that reached the final of World Cup 2018 and finished third in World Cup 2022.

“It is an honour to wear the most beautiful jersey in the world once in your career,” Vida said in a statement.

“And when you do it 105 times, you play in seven major competitions … then you can just be infinitely grateful for such a privilege.”

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Former Bayer Leverkusen and Besiktas player Vida currently plays for Greek top-flight club AEK Athens. 

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Sydney Collins will miss the Paris 2024 women’s soccer tournament after fracturing her left leg during a training game in her first match back after suffering a similar injury to her right leg earlier this year, Team Canada said on Saturday.

Gabrielle Carle will replace Collins in Canada’s Olympic squad, while Desiree Scott will take Carle’s spot as an alternate for the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists, it said.

Collins sustained the injury on Thursday during a closed-door training match against Nigeria, her first since fracturing her right leg in February.

“Our hearts go out to Sydney during this difficult time. She has worked incredibly hard to return in time for Paris 2024, and while this is a setback, we know she will come back stronger,” said women’s national team head coach Bev Priestman.

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“She will be with us in spirit every step of the way.

“With the depth and resilience of our roster, it’s a next-player-up mentality, and both Gabby and Desiree’s experience will be invaluable to our team’s success.”

Canada will begin the defence of their Olympic title on July 25 against Group A opponents New Zealand. 

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