Carlos Alcaraz predicted a “great rivalry” with Jannik Sinner after defeating the Italian in their Indian Wells semi-final on Saturday.
The victory took the Spaniard just one win away from returning to the world No. 1 ranking that he previously held.
Alcaraz had to save a set point in the first set of a 7-6(4) 6-3 victory as he set up a final against Daniil Medvedev.
“I’m really happy with the performance today,” Alcaraz said after his win. “I’m really happy to get through this great match. Jannik obviously is a really great player with great shots.
“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. All I can say is I’m really happy with my first final here in Indian Wells.”
The match was the fifth between the pair, and the head-to-head record already has an epic 2022 US open quarter-final. This bout lasted a little under two hours, with the most intense competition coming in the first set.
Sinner was 4-2 down before racing back to a 5-4 lead as his opponent wobbled, going to 6-5 to force a set point, only for Alcaraz to hold on and decide the set in his favour on a tie-break.
“Playing against Jannik is never easy. I had to overcome a little bit of problems. I had set point down,” Alcaraz continued. “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.”
A win for Alcaraz on Sunday would see him match Rafael Nadal’s record to win at least three ATP Masters 1000 titles as a teenager, with the 19-year-old in his last year to match the feat. This is the third final of 2023 for him having won in Buenos Aires and lost in the Rio Open, against Briton Cameron Norrie in both.
“I really want to play against the best tennis player in the world,” Alcaraz said of the final. “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.”
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