ATP

Alcaraz eager for showdown with 'best in the world' Medvedev and anticipates long Sinner rivalry

By Sports Desk March 19, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz is eagerly anticipating an Indian Wells Open final against "the best tennis player in the world" Daniil Medvedev and expects a long-lasting rivalry with downed opponent Jannik Sinner.

Spaniard Alcaraz defeated Italian Sinner 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in California to reach his first Indian Wells final and move within one win of a return to the top of the ATP World Rankings.

Standing in his way is the in-form Medvedev, who owns a 19-match unbeaten run and has won three straight titles.

The two have only met once competitively, with Medvedev winning in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2021 and Alcaraz always wants to challenge himself against the elite on tour.

"I really want to play against the best tennis player in the world," Alcaraz said. 

"I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and I would say that Daniil is the best player right now, amazing winning streak.

"For me, it's going to be a really difficult challenge but I'm really prepared for that. I will summon my best tomorrow in the final."

Against Sinner, Alcaraz overcame an opponent with whom he is developing quite the budding rivalry.

It was their fifth career showdown and the first time they had met since Alcaraz won a marathon US Open quarter-final, a match that finished at 2.50am local time – the latest ending at the New York major.

"I would say we're going to have a great rivalry over the years. We are playing in the best tournaments in the world. It's not over here. We are going to play a lot of great matches," Alcaraz added.

"All I can say is I'm really happy with my first final here in Indian Wells.

"Playing against Jannik is never easy. I had to overcome a little bit of problems. I had set point down. 

"I knew that I had to increase my level to [beat] Jannik. It was a really close first set. In the second set I put out all the nerves and played more relaxed. I think it was the key of everything."

Medvedev will also play in his first Indian Wells final after defeating Frances Tiafoe 7-5 7-6 (7-4) in the other semi-final.

Medvedev has won in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai and will be the first man to win four titles in five weeks since Andy Murray in 2016 if he can down Alcaraz.

Against Tiafoe, the Russian put in a great showing but let slip seven match points and was broken twice when serving for the match.

"It was crazy at the end," said Medvedev. "I got super tight. I would say that [after] 6-5, 40-0, I think I got tight at deuce when I was like, 'Oh my god, that's a lot of opportunities missed, this could go not well for me'. 

"So, I got really tight, [but] I still managed to continue playing good. The ace [on match point] was a relief, I’m just really happy that I managed not to lose this match."

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