Alcaraz closes in on No.1 rank with progress to Indian Wells final against in-form Medvedev

By Sports Desk March 18, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz qualified for his third final from three events this season and moved within one win of re-claiming the world number one ranking after beating Jannik Sinner in the Indian Wells Open semi-finals on Saturday.

The 2022 US Open champion triumphed 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 over the Italian 11th seed in one hour and 54 minutes.

Alcaraz is into his maiden Indian Wells final, having lost last year's semi-final to Rafael Nadal, while it is his third career Masters final.

The Spaniard will re-claim the top rank from Novak Djokovic with victory in the decider where he will face in-form fifth seed and 2021 US Open winner Daniil Medvedev who beat Frances Tiafoe 7-5 7-6 (7-4) on Saturday in 108 minutes.

Alcaraz had missed three months due to abdominal and hamstring injuries but continued his excellent return in Indian Wells, after winning the Argentina Open and making the Rio Open decider last month.

The top seed hit 26-14 winners against Sinner, including 17 on his forehand, while he capitalised on the Italian's 50 per cent first-serve percentage, attacking his second serve and converting two of six break points.

Medvedev earned a berth in his maiden Indian Wells decider with his triumph over 14th seed Tiafoe extending his winning streak to 19 games.

The Russian is into an ATP Tour-best fourth final for the season, following victories at the Dubai Tennis Championships, Qatar Open and Rotterdam Open in February.

While Alcaraz is within one victory of the number one ranking, Medvedev can become the first male since Andy Murray in 2016 to win four titles in five weeks.

Medvedev even let slip seven match points against Tiafoe and was broken twice when serving for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 before converting his first match point in the tie-break.

The world number six has maintained his top form despite rolling his ankle in his fourth-round win over Alexander Zverev, showing no signs of injury since.

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