Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev headed to final at Indian Wells

League: Tennis

Posted on: 17 Mar, 2024 at 06:32 AM

Credit: Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 2 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev both prevailed in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday, setting up a rematch of last year's final.

Alcaraz came away with the title in 2023, sweeping Medvedev 6-3, 6-2.

On Saturday, last year's finalists were forced to rally, with Alcaraz beating third-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, while Medvedev picked up a 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory over 17th seed Tommy Paul of the United States.

"I saw Carlos today, he was playing pretty well, second and third set especially," Medvedev said Saturday. "I know what happened last year so I'm going to try my best to try to turn this around, to play better, to play stronger, more on the lines, hit more aces, stuff like this. Hopefully I will be able to do it. I will recover and get ready for the fight tomorrow."

Sinner was in complete control early, winning five straight games to capture the first set. He won four of those games following a rain delay that suspended play for three hours.

But the hiatus seemed to work in Alcaraz's favor, and when action resumed just before 5 p.m. local time, momentum quickly shifted.

Alcaraz raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, giving Sinner a game before winning two of the last three. Alcaraz won seven of 11 second-serve points, saved a pair of break points and collected 10 winners in the second, setting himself up for a dominant third.

It looked like Sinner was back on track when he took the first game of the final set, but Alcaraz proceeded to win the next five before eventually wrapping up the victory on his third match point.

"I stayed strong mentally," Alcaraz said. "I think that's a really important part in this game. You have to be strong mentally if you want to overcome these kind of matches, a set down against someone that's playing an unbelievable game. I'm really happy with the things that I've done after that.

"I changed my style a little bit, I changed my game a little bit and I think it worked very well. I'm really happy to beat Jannik and be in the final again."

Sinner saw a 19-match winning streak come to an end. He entered Saturday riding a perfect 16-0 start to the 2024 season.

Like Alcaraz, Medvedev also struggled in the first set, but things didn't come as easy to him in the second.

Medvedev appeared to be in control when he went up 4-0, and even more so when he was up 5-2, but Paul came charging back to force a tiebreaker.

Paul soon grabbed a 3-2 lead in the tiebreaker, but Medvedev staved off elimination by winning five straight points. He then cruised home in the third set.

"(Paul) played an unbelievable first set. So I was like, OK, if I want to win I just have to try to do a little bit better to find the shot that's going to make him in trouble," Medvedev said. "I found some, especially on my serve.

"Then the match started to be a long fight. Even in the third set, it was 6-2, but it was very, very long games and I think it was a long set. So I'm really happy to be able to pull this out."

--Field Level Media