Rivalries: Alcaraz vs Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have quickly formed one of the most exciting rivalries on the ATP Tour.
Possessing thunderous groundstrokes and incredible agility, the 19-year-old Spaniard and 21-year-old Italian have already clashed on the biggest stages and are poised to do so plenty in the next decade.
With Alcaraz leading Sinner 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, they will meet again on Friday in the semi-finals at the Miami Open presented by Itau.
“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.”
Ahead of their sixth encounter, ATPTour.com looks at three of their past blockbusters.
Wimbledon 2022, Fourth Round, Sinner d. Alcaraz 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3
Just hours after Wimbledon looked back to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Centre Court, Sinner and Alcaraz provided a glimpse of the future with their first Grand Slam meeting in the fourth round.
In the first Centre Court match for both, Sinner overwhelmed Alcaraz with his pure ball-striking and had two match points to wrap up a straight-sets win before Alcaraz found his rhythm to take the third-set tie-break. After converting on his fourth set point, the Spaniard raised his racquet, soaking in the crowd's roar.
As the match grew more physical, Sinner stemmed the tide with two battling holds to open the fourth set, then scored the decisive break to edge ever closer to his third major quarter-final. After missing out on three further match points on return at 5-3, Sinner saved a break point as he served out one of the most entertaining matches of the fortnight. A forehand winner — Sinner's 35th of the match — completed the victory after three hours and 35 minutes.
“Carlos is a very tough opponent and a very nice person, so it is always a huge pleasure for me to play against him," said Sinner, who would fall to Novak Djokovic in five sets in the quarter-finals.
Photo Credit: Adrian Dennis/Getty Images
US Open 2022, QF, Alcaraz d. Sinner 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3
In one of the matches of the 2022 season, Alcaraz and Sinner battled late into the New York night. Across five hours and 15 minutes of twists and turns, the only constant was elite tennis and tireless effort from both men. Alcaraz and Sinner took turns lighting up Arthur Ashe Stadium, flashing their tremendous athleticism and power in equal measures.
Sinner dominated the third-set tie-break to take a two-sets-to-one lead and carried his momentum into the fourth set as he scored an instant break. But the fearless Alcaraz erased a match point with Sinner serving at 5-4 and went on a run of four straight games to force a fifth set. Again trailing by a break, the Spaniard repeated that feat by winning four games in a row in the fifth set to claim victory at 2:50 a.m.
"Honestly, I still don't know how I did it," Alcaraz said. "You have to believe in yourself. I believed in my game. It was really difficult to close out the match. I tried to stay calm, but it is difficult in the moment.
“The energy I received in this court at 3 a.m., it was unbelievable. Probably in other tournaments, everybody [would go] to their house to rest. But they [stayed] in the court, supporting me. It was unbelievable.”
Alcaraz went on to claim his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows and by doing so he became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
BNP Paribas Open 2023, SF, Alcaraz d. Sinner 7-6(4), 6-3
Carlos Alcaraz captured his third ATP Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open earlier this month, returning to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following his triumph. The Spaniard did not drop a set en route to the title, but was pushed the hardest by Sinner in the pair’s semi-final clash in Indian Wells.
In another entertaining battle, the bulk of the drama came in a back-and-forth opening set as Sinner took full advantage of a dip in level from his opponent to turn a 2-4 deficit into a 5-4 lead, winning 11 straight points in the process. Sinner kept the pressure on to create a set point at 6-5, but a uniquely Alcaraz combination — big serve, drop shot, volley winner — erased the chance and ensured the set would be decided in a tie-break.
Encouraged by his escape, the Spaniard powered through the tie-break and carried his momentum into set two, when he consolidated an early break with a point-of-the-season contender, planting a topspin lob on the baseline after a Sinner dipper forced him to retreat from the net. He later wriggled out of 0/30 to hold for 5-2, and served out the match with ease behind a pair of punishing forehand winners.
“I'm really happy to get through this great match. Jannik obviously is a really great player with great shots,” Alcaraz said. “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.”