Carlos Alcaraz to face Daniil Medvedev in Indian Wells final rematch after last-four fightbacks

Carlos Alcaraz to face Daniil Medvedev in Indian Wells final rematch after last-four fightbacks

After a three-hour rain delay, Carlos Alcaraz came back from being one set down to break Jannik Sinner’s 19-match winning streak and secure a spot in the Indian Wells final against Daniil Medvedev.

The Spanish player beat Sinner 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to move on to the BNP Paribas Open finale and maintain his spot as the world’s second-ranked player. Alcaraz increased his winning streak to 11 matches as he progressed to the championship match.

Alcaraz will meet Medvedev after the world No 4 beat Tommy Paul 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in the second semi-final. Paul, seeded 17, lost the second set on a tie break before a medical timeout, while Medvedev then took control as he won the decider 6-2.

During the first set, Sinner was ahead of Alcaraz 2-1, but the match was interrupted due to rain in the Southern California desert for over three hours. The women’s semi-finals had also been affected by rain the previous day.

Australian Open champion Sinner has been the hottest player on tour this year and looked poised to run away with the match after play resumed and Alcaraz sent a forehand long to end the 34-minute opening set.

However, Alcaraz altered his strategy after that, becoming more aggressive by approaching the net and changing Sinner’s positioning. He secured the only break of the second set in the fourth game with a successful forehand drop volley. In the seventh game, the right-handed player faced a break point on his serve, but he was able to overcome it and eventually win the set on his serve.

The Spaniard defeated Sinner in the third and fifth games of the third set as both players aggressively hit the ball from their positions and approached the net, resulting in exciting and impressive volley exchanges.

Alcaraz led 40-love on his serve for his first match point when he netted a backhand. Sinner’s smash dashed Alcaraz’s second match point before the Spaniard closed it out with a forehand crosscourt winner.

“I maintained my mental resilience, which is crucial,” said Alcaraz. “I had to increase my running, improve my defense compared to the first set, and consistently make shots. I had to remain strong while on the court.”

Sinner had the chance to surpass Alcaraz and secure the No. 2 spot in the global rankings if he had won. This would have been possible after a streak of 19 consecutive wins, including 16 this year. However, the Italian’s 38 unforced errors compared to Alcaraz’s 24 proved to be costly. Though Sinner did have more winners, 21-19.

Daniil Medvedev celebrates defeating Tommy Paul to set up a final rematch with Carlos Alcaraz at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

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Alcaraz and Medvedev will have a rematch of their match from last year’s Indian Wells final. In 2023, Alcaraz won the title by defeating Medvedev 6-3, 6-2.

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“I observed Carlos performing very impressively today, particularly in the second and third sets,” shared Medvedev. “Considering what occurred last year, I am determined to give my all in order to improve my game and execute stronger shots, hitting more aces and staying closer to the lines. I am hopeful that I can succeed in doing so. I will take the necessary steps to rest and prepare for tomorrow’s competition.”

Similar to Alcaraz, Medvedev faced difficulties in the initial set. However, he did not have it as smooth in the second set. Despite initially appearing to have a stronghold on the match with a 4-0 lead, Medvedev’s opponent Paul put up a strong fight and managed to equalize the score at 5-5, leading to a tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Paul took a 3-2 advantage, but Medvedev managed to avoid defeat by earning five consecutive points. He then easily secured a win in the third set.

Paul had an incredible first set, which motivated me to step up my game and find shots that would put him at a disadvantage,” Medvedev stated. “I managed to do so, especially with my serve.”

The game turned into a lengthy battle. Despite the score being 6-2 in the third set, the games were very long and it felt like a never-ending set. I am grateful that I was able to ultimately emerge victorious.

In the women’s doubles final, top-seeded Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Elise Mertens of Belgium defeated third-seeded Storm Hunter of Australia and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4. The winners split $447,300.