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LONDON (AP) — Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and top seed Jannik Sinner are just one match away from another thrilling Wimbledon semifinal clash.

LONDON (AP) — Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and top seed Jannik Sinner are just one match away from another thrilling Wimbledon semifinal clash.

Both men reached the quarterfinals on Sunday when Alcaraz fended off a comeback attempt from Ugo Humbert to win 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 on Centre Court. Sinner then defeated Ben Shelton 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (9) on Court No. 1 after fending off four set points in the third set.

Alcaraz beat Sinner in five sets in the semifinals of the French Open in June en route to his first Roland Garros title, and the two would meet again in the semifinals if they win their next matches. Alcaraz will face the winner of the match between No. 12 Tommy Paul and Roberto Bautista Agut, while Sinner – this year’s Australian Open champion – will face No. 5 Daniil Medvedev or No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov.

Both players managed some spectacular shots in the decisive moments on Sunday.

Alcaraz’s match against Humbert seemed to be as good as over when the Spaniard won the second set by fending off several seemingly unreachable shots on set point, even falling down after a forehand shot and quickly getting up again to get the next ball.

When asked to describe his game in this context, Alcaraz simply said: “Incredible, I think.”

Humbert nearly made a surprise comeback and threatened to take the match into a fifth set when he had three break points in a row in the fourth set to take a 5-3 lead. But Alcaraz came back and won the game with the help of some aces, then broke to go 6-5 ahead by hitting a deep forehand winner.

He prepared for a match point with one of his fine forehand dropshots and converted it with a service winner.

“I felt great playing today, I think I played at a really high level,” Alcaraz said.

Sinner had to come back from a 4-1 deficit in the third set and held at 5-5 after wrapping his racket behind his back and hitting the ball between his legs to send it over the net, before hitting a forehand passing shot to win the match.

“It was just luck,” Sinner said about his shot.

Sinner then fended off a set point at 6-5 and three more in the tiebreak before converting his second match point when the hard-serving Shelton double-faulted.

Shelton was trying to reach his first Wimbledon quarterfinal but had previously reeled off three straight five-set wins, including one over Denis Shapovalov that ended on Saturday.

Sinner is in the last eight for the third year in a row after losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals last year.

Earlier, French Open runner-up Jasmine Paolini reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal when Madison Keys retired with a leg injury in the third set of their fourth-round match at 5-5. Donna Vekic also advanced after beating Paula Badosa 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in a choppy match on Court 2 that was interrupted several times by rain. Vekic will also be making her first Wimbledon quarterfinal, in her tenth appearance at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

Keys served for the match at 5-2 in the final set, but began to limp more and more and needed a medical timeout to have her left leg treated after Paolini equalised at 5-4. When she served for the second match, her left thigh was taped, but it broke again – a double fault on a break point – and by the end of the match she was crying as her mobility was significantly limited.

Keys tried to continue playing, but the American eventually went to the net to tell the Court 1 umpire that she was giving up her match after Paolini hit an ace in the final game to make it 15-15.

The Italian had won the first set 6-3 before Keys won the second 7-6 (6).

Keys was two points away from victory when the score was 5-2 in the third round.

“I’m so sorry for her. It’s bad to end the match like that,” Paolini said in her on-court interview. “What can I say? We played a really good match. It was really tough. Lots of ups and downs. I’m a little bit happy, but also sad for her. It’s not easy to win like that.”

Paolini is the fifth Italian to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in the professional era and will be trying to become the first to reach the semifinals, facing the winner of the match between No. 2 Coco Gauff and 19th seed Emma Navarro, played later on Centre Court.

Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up, was attempting to reach the last eight at the All England Club for the second year in a row and third time overall. ___

AP Tennis:

Mattias Karen, The Associated Press