By Toby Davis

LONDON (Reuters) -For all the waspish energy and venomous hitting, it was Carlos Alcaraz’s ability to turn up the dial under pressure that saw him come through a testing encounter with Nicolas Jarry and move safely into the Wimbledon fourth round on Saturday.

The world number one was frequently on the ropes against the imposing Chilean but always managed to find another gear as he wrapped up a 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 7-5 victory on Centre Court to set up a tantalising encounter with either Alexander Zverev or Matteo Berrettini.

The U.S. Open winner ultimately had too much in his locker to be sent packing by Jarry, but he still showed some vulnerability at times that better opponents than the 28th-ranked Jarry will seize on.

The Chilean, who looks even bigger than his stated 6-foot six-inch frame, played the role of David to Alcaraz’s more diminutive tennis Goliath.

His slingshot was a massive and relentlessly consistent serve and a pummelling forehand that at times did real damage to the Spaniard.

“I stayed focused, all the time,” he said on court after securing the win. “I knew I was going to have my chances. It was really close, he has great shots, very solid.”

The Centre Court crowd had seemed uncertain where to place their loyalties at times during the contest.

In need of a new darling, in the absence of their beloved Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and with Andy Murray having been knocked out, Alcaraz has been tipped as the man to steal their hearts.

Yet they struggled to completely embrace the Spaniard when a compelling underdog story was brewing.

The Spaniard’s sublime shotmaking drew some gasps, but Jarry’s dogged resistance ensured the crowd did not wholeheartedly rally behind Alcaraz when he was under the cosh.

Not that he cared. “I am really happy to play here – it is something I dreamed since I very young,” he said.

“This court is the most beautiful court I have played on”

What had looked like being a routine outing for Alcaraz when he claimed the first set after a solitary break, quickly turned into something more troublesome as Jarry raced into a 4-1 lead in the second.

While Alcaraz clawed back parity, the Chilean served like his life depended on it to level the match in the tiebreak.

Alcaraz got his nose in front once more but if he hoped to have dealt a decisive blow by winning the third set, Jarry had other ideas, racing into a 3-0 lead at the start of the fourth.

That, however, brought out the best in the Spaniard who finished off the contest with two further breaks, wrapping up the match with two massive serves that were just too hot for Jarry to handle.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar)

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