SF Preview: Alcaraz & Sinner Continue Growing Rivalry In Miami
For the second time this month, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner will face off in the semi-finals at an ATP Masters 1000 event when they meet on Friday at the Miami Open presented by Itau. (Watch the semi-final from 7pm ET/1am CET)
At the BNP Paribas Open, the 19-year-old Alcaraz overcame the 21-year-old Sinner in straight sets, before he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final to triumph in Indian Wells and rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Fast forward two weeks and Sinner will be eager for revenge in the latest chapter of their growing rivalry.
Aiming to become the youngest player to win the ‘Sunshine Double’, the defending champion Alcaraz has continued to bring the heat in Miami. The top seed has blitzed through the field at the hard-court event, not dropping a set en route to his fourth semi-final of the season. After defeating Facundo Bagnis and Dusan Lajovic in his first two matches, Alcaraz crushed seeds Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz to set a blockbuster semi-final against Sinner.
"I've played against him in the final rounds of tournaments. That means he is playing a great level," said Alcaraz, who will have 24 hours less recovery time than the Italian due to rain disrupting the Miami quarter-final schedule. "I am sure that we are going to play for big things in the future. I can't wait to see our [improvement]."
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Friday’s clash in Miami will be the sixth meeting between the former Next Gen ATP Finals champions. Alcaraz leads Sinner 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series and has won their past two meetings on hard courts. At the 2022 US Open, the Spaniard won one of the matches of the season when he saved a match point in an epic five-set five-hour, 15-minute quarter-final victory which finished at 2:50 a.m. Alcaraz then defeated Sinner 7-6(4), 6-3 in Indian Wells earlier this month. The Spaniard went on to win both titles and will hope history repeats itself this weekend.
Sinner is aiming to break new ground in Miami, where he chases his first ATP Masters 1000 crown. The seven-time tour-level champion holds an impressive 12-2 record at the hard-court event, having advanced to the final on debut in 2021 and the quarter-finals in 2022. Like Alcaraz, Sinner has crushed everyone in his path this fortnight, not dropping more than four games in a set. The Italian is up two spots to No. 9 in the Peppestone ATP Live Rankings and will rise to No. 6 if he captures the crown.
The 10th seed, who has defeated seeds Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev in South Florida, is once again relishing the opportunity to face friend and foe Alcaraz.
“I [am] happy to play against him again because I look forward to these kind of matches,” Sinner said when looking ahead to the clash. “I feel like he makes me a better player. Here the court is fast. I think we both feel good here on these courts.”
Another top-class performance from @janniksin as he moves on to the semi-final— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) March 30, 2023
Taking a look👀at some of his return numbers 📊from what was his best return performance of the tournament so far 👏
The combination of court position, pace & consistency on second serve return‼️… pic.twitter.com/te6HQOMmeJ
If their previous encounters are to go by, fans can expect a heavyweight clash between two of the best movers and cleanest ballstrikers on Tour. Both men bludgeon the ball with unrelenting force and will look to demonstrate their incredible speed and athleticism to repel each other’s attacks.
Alcaraz, who will look to use the drop shot to outmanoeuvre Sinner, believes the key to their rivalry is the respect they have for each other off court.
“We have a good relationship outside the court. We wave [at] each other, we talk. When we are out of the court, we practise a few times together as well,” said Alcaraz. “He's a really nice guy. I think that's really important, as well, to be a nice person. We share a lot of great moments outside of the court.”
Alcaraz needs to win his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title this weekend to remain at No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. His quest continues against Sinner not before 7 p.m. local time (1 a.m. CET) on Miami stadium court.