Tommy Haas can rejoice. In the absence of Novak Djokovic, the Indian Wells tournament director will see the best poster possible to close out the first Masters 1000 of the year. On Saturday, Carlos Alcaraz, seeded 1, joined the man of the moment to beat, Daniil Medvedev and his 19 wins in a row in the finals. To do this, the prodigy from Murcia still amazed by mastering Jannik Sinner, 13th in the ATP rankings, in straight sets (7-6, 6-3) and 1h51. For the third time in his career, the young Spaniard will be challenging for a title in Masters 1000, with the icing on the cake being a possible recapture of the world No. 1 spot.
The shock didn’t reach the intensity, quality, or thrill of their anthology duel six months ago at Flushing Meadows. How could he have seen the difference in format (three winning sets instead of five)? But Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner did not disappoint. Because if only it were in sequences, the violence and pace of the exchanges were breathtaking at times this Saturday, recalling how tennis had good days ahead of these two. This time, however, the Spaniard took the advantage more clearly, mainly due to his ability to better control the fundamental points.
ATP Indian Wells
Alcaraz – Sinner, six months after the masterpiece
14 HOURS AGO
Sinner missed the target at the end of the first set
There was actually a turning point. It was the win of the first set. Because if the final score suggests a clear superiority of Alcaraz, it was nothing in this inaugural act. Yes, the Spaniard broke the first well (4-2), leaving Sinner to suffer martyrdom on his second balls. But the Italian quickly revolted and scored 11 consecutive points to regain the lead (4-5). More compact in his attacks, he imposed a hellish pace on the exchange, which hampered Alcaraz quite a bit. So much so that the latter mainly held on thanks to his first ball in the second part of this first set, and even saved a set point on his serve at 5-6.
Supersonic exchange and mind-boggling lobe to close: Alcaraz’s mutated point
Visibly nervous, in constant dialogue with his clan at the start of the tiebreak, he nevertheless managed to convert this negative energy into an engine to regain the intensity in his shots and his small footwork. And if he was less expressive on the other side of the net, Sinner was no less tense. At 5 points to 4, Alcaraz found a defense whose length surprised his rival who already saw an equalizer. By hitting backwards he made a mistake and offered the Spaniard two set points. And the latter didn’t miss his chance with a shotgun shot in the winning cross backhand.
Alcaraz, an ever-impressive repertoire
That gunshot turned into a blow to Sinner’s head. Led by a set, the Italian had no time to recover and conceded the break at the start of the second set (7-6, 3-0). In driving home the point in this way, Alcaraz proved once again that he was one of the rare specimens on the track, in the wake of the great era of a “Big 3” who was never more dangerous than when he led the score. Released, the Murcian was able to be more creative on the field by multiplying the amortized lobe breaks, one of which was phenomenal to precisely confirm his advantage.
Equally explosive on offense and impressive on defense, he also amazed at his tactical clarity with some counter-time climbs and well-felt return volleys. Sinner had the merit of holding on to the end, but had to give up despite so much certainty and variations in service: flat, kicked out or to the body, Alcaraz will have done anything for him. It remains to be seen whether Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protege is already strong enough to defeat the invincible of the moment, Daniil Medvedev. One thing is certain: this finale will make your mouth water in advance.
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