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Sinner series broken: Alcaraz remains number 2 – Tennis

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Sinner series broken: Alcaraz remains number 2 – Tennis

It had to happen at some point: Jannik Sinner lost his first match of the current season on Saturday at the Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. A brilliant start wasn’t enough against his good friend Carlos Alcaraz, who remains number 2 in the world thanks to the victory.

Fans had to wait 165 days for the eighth act of this electrifying rivalry. 165 days in which Sinner tilted the balance of power – and became the best player in the world. These are not empty words from a journalist, but from Alcaraz, who spoke before the duel about the “most difficult match of the year”. And he announced that he would change his tactics compared to the last two duels. He only implemented this successfully after a desolate opening set and ultimately won clearly with 1:6, 6:3 and 6:2.

The match started extremely strangely: only three games had been played when the rain spoiled the game and caused an interruption of around three hours. Indian Wells is located in the California desert. Be that as it may: When the two protagonists returned, one player was already up to speed (Sinner), while the other player didn’t know what was happening to him (Alcaraz).

Sinner dominates

In the Spaniard’s first service game, the Sesto player took action, benefiting from a double fault on the breakball. Immediately afterwards, the 20-year-old from Murcia also had a chance to break, but Sinner remained brave with his forehand. After he made it 4-1, there was no turning back. Sinner again took the service from his opponent and won the first set 6:1.

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There was no question that the Iberian would react. The way he did it wasn’t surprising. He avoided long baseline duels and instead sprinkled in many variations that were intended to throw Sinner out of rhythm. This approach now bore fruit, as Darren Cahill’s protégé was now much less precise and weakened when serving.

The result was the Spaniard’s early break, who now got a taste of the morning air and moved ahead to 4-1. Sinner didn’t give in, won what was probably the most spectacular rally of the season and stuck with it. Shortly afterwards he lost his feared killer instinct when he let a backhand sail out of bounds on a break ball. As Alcaraz served for the set, the Australian Open champion missed another opportunity – this time the Spaniard was there with an incredible backhand. And so it went into the third set.

Sinner is tired, Alcaraz is playing outstandingly

The Spaniard was now the better player on the pitch. He reduced his number of errors significantly, but still came on the offensive more and returned strongly. At the same time, he benefited from numerous mistakes made by the Sexten player, who repeatedly grabbed his left leg – and conceded the next break. The unbeatable man now looked battered and vulnerable. Alcaraz, on the other hand, literally floated across the court and made everything clear with the second break of the round. Sinner had to capitulate after 2.03 hours and congratulate his opponent on reaching the final. There Alcaraz will meet either Daniil Medvedev or Tommy Paul.

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