Indian Wells, Sinner gives in to a great Alcaraz: if the Spaniard wins the final tonight against Medvedev he will be No. 1 in the world again

Indian Wells, Sinner gives in to a great Alcaraz: if the Spaniard wins the final tonight against Medvedev he will be No. 1 in the world again


In a tennis played in constant acceleration, the winner is whoever never takes his foot off the board: Carlos Alcaraz, who takes the semifinal of the future against Jannik Sinner in straight sets (7-6 6-3) and will play the final tonight of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 against Daniil Medvedev (not before midnight, tv on Sky Sport). Should he succeed, from Monday he will return to number one in the world by pushing down the contumacious (for vaccine issues) Novak Djokovic.

It was the fifth meeting between Carlitos and Jan, the previous two being equal, this time it was the Spaniard’s higher quality serve (72 percent of firsts against 48), the completeness of his repertoire, and the extraordinary ability to win playing with almost no safety margins, getting the right choices right in the hottest moments of the match. Sinner is more constant, he has fewer ups and downs but he ‘flashes’ even less (15 winners against Alcaraz’s 28), it is no coincidence that during the first set his assistant coach Darren Cahill advised him to ‘fire up’, to ignite, to counter the flames of the boy from Murcia. In fact, Carlitos immediately jumped ahead – 4-2 – and seemed ready for a sprint race; but he then jammed for three games, conceding with a few mistakes too many a run of 12 points to 2 in favor of Jannick, who overtook him and also had a set point in the twelfth game.

Landed at the tie-break, Alcaraz has however resumed grinding inventions. He was lucky on 3 all when one of his passes jumped onto the net damaging Sinner, but Jan also paid for a hesitation in the next point: two points, one life. “Talk to yourself, you have to tell yourself that you like to play,” his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero whispered to Alcaraz, the wonderful Nino listened to him. After the moment of crisis and negativity, Carlitos at the beginning of the second set freed his mind and above all his arm, immediately placing the decisive break (3-0) and climbing up to an unsustainable regime for Jannik. Even though he never gave up and continued to compete with him for exchanges of excellent quality played at an almost unsustainable speed.

At 19 years and 318 days old, Alcaraz has thus already reached three Masters 1000 finals, and a victory at Indian Wells would make him the youngest to pocket both ‘Sunshine Double’ titles, given that in Miami he already triumphed last year. After the long break due to injury last year and the Davis Cup Finals played half serve, this year he came back winning in Buenos Aires and losing the final in Rio de Janeiro, opposite Cameron Norrie in both cases. His opponent today, Daniil Medevev, has done even better: he is in a positive series of 19 matches and in the fourth final in the last four tournaments he has played. The other three – Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai – he won them all, but this time in the semifinal he needed 8 matchpoints to get the better of Frances Tiafoe (7-5 ​​7-6). During the week he almost sprained his ankle against Zverev and cut his finger against Davidovich Fokina. He repeated until boredom that he didn’t like pitches and balls but yesterday he admitted, with a touch of self-irony, that «I’m playing better and better, and since I twisted my ankle I’ve started to feel better on these pitches…. They’re not my favorite playing conditions, but when you get to the finals you can’t complain.”

In conclusion: Sinner has played in a great tournament, but the two men who are undoubtedly in the best shape at the moment will play for the title, with Medvedev having secured his ascent to fifth place in the world rankings. “To be the best you have to beat the best,” summarized Alcaraz. “And Daniil is now the best. It will be a complicated match, but I’m ready.”


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