Alcaraz, Sinner renew rivalry in Indian Wells semifinals, Medvedev looking to continue

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner renew their rivalry on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000, where Alcaraz would return to world number one with a title.

The 19-year-old Spaniard and 21-year-old Italian are 2-2 in four previous encounters but it was Alcaraz who prevailed in their most dramatic encounter – a five-part US Open quarterfinal that lasted five hours and 15 minutes, it is 2:50 p.m., the last in US Open history.

Alcaraz would lift the trophy and become the youngest world number one in the history of the rankings.

He says adding a third Masters 1000 title to his résumé is more important than ousting Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings, but Sinner could prove a serious obstacle to both.

“I’m in a much, much better position (than) a year ago,” said Sinner after beating fifth-placed defending champion Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals.

“Plus, I know my body better about when to exercise or maybe just go to the gym.

“Mentally it was tough last year too, so I’m feeling much, much better this year. I’m in a good position right now.”

Alcaraz, whose 2023 season started late due to injuries in February, has quickly made up ground, clinching a title in Buenos Aires and reaching the final in Rio.

He said he is ready for the challenge he expects from Sinner who is aiming for his first Masters 1000 title. It would be his second title of the season after a triumph in Montpellier last month.

“Great fights,” Alcaraz said of their previous games. “I will enjoy this match.”

– Mighty Medvedev –

The winner of the match meets either the red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev or Frances Tiafoe, who wants to follow in the footsteps of her compatriot Fritz to the title in the Californian desert.

Medvedev, who has never found Indian Wells’ slow-moving hard courts sympathetic, has nonetheless managed to make the last four for the first time as he seeks his fourth straight ATP title after wins in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.

It’s been a tough week for the world number six, who twisted his right ankle in a three-set win over Germany’s Alexander Zverev and had to watch out for a cut on his thumb after another fall in his quarter-final win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Medvedev, who has an 18-game winning streak, doesn’t mind that the longer the streak, the greater the pressure.

“I like pressure because pressure comes, the better you do the more pressure,” said Medvedev, a former world number one who dropped out of the top 10 after a disappointing start to the season.

Tiafoe, meanwhile, has stormed into the semifinals without dropping a set as he chases his maiden Masters 1000 title, one that would see him in the top 10 for the first time.

The American, who has lost all four previous games against Medvedev, believes his big serve and forehand can break through Medvedev’s defence.

“I can take the racquet out of players’ hands,” said Tiafoe after beating former champion Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals. “I’ve grown tremendously as a player and it shows. I’m very happy with my progress.”


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