Alcaraz, Sinner renew rivalry in Indian Wells semis, Medvedev aims to roll on
Carlos Alcaraz and Yannick Sinner resumed their rivalry Saturday in the semi-finals of the WTA and ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, where the title would see Alcaraz return to world number one.
The 19-year-old Spaniard and the 21-year-old Italian had led 2-2 in four previous meetings, but it was Alcaraz who came out on top in their most dramatic clash, a five-set US Open quarter-final that lasted five hours and 15 minutes, in 2: 50, he finishes last in US Open history.
Alcaraz lifted the trophy and became the youngest world number one in the history of the rankings.
He says adding a third Masters 1000 title to his resume is more important than pushing Novak Djokovic off the top of the rankings, but Sinner could be a major hurdle for both.
“I’m in a much, much better position (than) where I was a year ago,” Sinner said after defeating fifth-place defending champion Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals.
“I also know my body better when to train and when to only train in the gym.
“Also, psychologically last year was hard, so this year I feel much, much better. I’m in a good position now.”
Alcaraz, whose 2023 campaign started late in February due to injuries, quickly made up for it by taking the title in Buenos Aires and reaching the final in Rio.
He said he is ready to take on the challenge he expects from Sinner, who is looking for his first Masters 1000 title. This will be his second title of the season after his Montpellier triumph last month.
“Great battles,” Alcaraz said of their matches to date. “I’m going to enjoy this match.”
– Mighty Medvedev –
The winner of the match will take on either hot Russian Daniil Medvedev or Frances Tiafoe, who is determined to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Fritz to the title in the Californian desert.
Medvedev, who never liked the slow hard courts of Indian Wells, nevertheless managed to reach the final four for the first time as he heads for a fourth straight ATP title after victories in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
It’s been a tough week for the world No. 6, who sprained her right ankle in a three-set win over Germany’s Alexander Zverev and needed attention with a cut thumb following another fall in her quarterfinal win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokin.
Medvedev, with his 18-match winning streak, doesn’t mind that the longer the streak, the more pressure builds.
“I like the pressure because the pressure comes, the better the result, the more pressure,” said Medvedev, the former world number one who fell out of the top ten after a poor start to the season.
Meanwhile, Tiafoe has stormed into the semi-finals without dropping a set as he races for his first Masters 1000 title, which will take him to the top 10 for the first time.
The American, who has lost all four previous matches to Medvedev, believes that his powerful serve and right hand can break through Medvedev’s defense.
“I can take the racket out of the hands of the players,” Tiafoe said after beating former champion Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals. “I have grown a lot as a player and it shows. I am very pleased with my progress.”