Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday March 16, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz edged Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the semifinals at Indian Wells.

Photo Source: Getty

Rivalry, renewed.

Fans with fond memories of watching Carlos Alcaraz’s five hour and 15-minute epic with Jannik Sinner at the 2022 US Open can start popping popcorn again. The pair of rising forces will meet again on Saturday at Indian Wells for a spot in the BNP Paribas Open final, after Alcaraz battled past Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-4 to book his spot aside the Italian in the last four.

Earlier in the day, Sinner edged defending champion Taylor Fritz, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, to become the first Italian man to ever reach the semifinals in the 47-year history of the tournament that is now known as the BNP Paribas Open.

It's a lofty achievement for a 21-year-old that appears to be destined for even bigger things.

Alcaraz and Sinner have split their four previous meetings, with the Spaniard taking both contests on hard courts, while Sinner has won one on clay and one on grass.

After his victory on Thursday Alcaraz told the press that he loves to face Sinner because he enjoys having his game pushed to the limit.

“That's what I love [about] playing against him; that it pushes me to the limit. I have to be really, really focused. I love to feel that,” he said.

Sinner will have a chance to erase the bitter taste of losing what was likely the best men’s match of the 2022 season against Alcaraz. He had a match point against Alcaraz but couldn't seal the deal, as Alcaraz saved it and continued on his way to his maiden major title a few days later.

The epic clash lasted five hours and 15 minutes, ended at 2:50 AM, and left fans gasping for air. The level of shotmaking was off the charts, and not just for one set – for all of them.

“For sure is we had always very tough matches anyway, in every surface,” Sinner said. “So it's obviously a big pleasure playing against him.”

Alcaraz finds himself in brilliant form ahead of the pair’s latest clash. After suffering a hamstring injury in the Rio final last month, he entered the BNP Paribas Open as a question mark. Four matches later he’s looking like the player who stormed to the US Open title last season.

It has been tricky for the 19-year-old Spaniard since that crowning achievement.

Alcaraz missed several months at the end of last season with an abdominal injury, before he picked up a hamstring injury during his preseason training. He reinjured that injury in Rio, after playing nine matches in 12 days on the red clay, but now says he is learning how to manage his body better.

He told reporters that he is not surprised that he has found his form so quickly in 2023. He is a player that now expects himself to win the biggest events.

“I [am not] surprised so much, because I'm a guy who learns really fast. I look to the big players, Djokovic or Rafa, when they are coming from an injury and probably [they have] a great percentage to win the tournament after an injury. “So I look [to] them a little bit when I was injured, training. They motivate me to play the good game after an injury in the first tournaments.

“I was surprised when I won Buenos Aires, but right now, I'm not surprised at it.”


Latest News