Roland Garros

Rivalries: Alcaraz vs. Sinner

Alcaraz leads Lexus ATP Head2Head series 5-4
June 07, 2024
Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz shake hands after their five-set clash in the 2024 Roland Garros semi-finals.
Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz shake hands after their five-set clash in the 2024 Roland Garros semi-finals. By ATP Staff

The Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner has blossomed into one of the most gripping rivalries in recent memory.

Possessing thunderous groundstrokes and incredible agility, the Spaniard and the Italian have frequently clashed on the biggest stages and are poised to do so plenty in the next decade. It is a rivalry which brings the best out of the Top 3 PIF ATP Rankings stars. looks at each match in the pair's Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry, in which Alcaraz took a 5-4 lead following his win in the 2024 Roland Garros semi-finals.

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Roland Garros 2024, SF, Alcaraz d. Sinner 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Both stars entered the Roland Garros semi-finals keen to reach their first final at the clay-court major. Alcaraz and Sinner had each entered the tournament with an injury concern, but found their form and worked their way to the last four.

Sinner came flying out of the gates, surging to a set-and-a-break advantage. But as the Italian began to make more unforced errors, Alcaraz raised his level to flip the momentum of the match.

The Italian suffered from cramp in his hand and arm early in the third set, but managed to dig deep to take a two-sets-to-one advantage. From there, Alcaraz again turned the match around and his ability to maneouvre himself into winning positions in rallies proved the difference. 

The Spaniard hit 65 winners compared to 39 for Sinner, and rallied to reach the final after four hours and nine minutes.

While it was a disappointing loss for Sinner, the 22-year-old was already guaranteed to climb to No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time on the Monday after the tournament.

BNP Paribas Open 2024, SF, Alcaraz d. Sinner 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Sinner entered his semi-final clash against Alcaraz at the BNP Paribas in March unbeaten on the season. The Italian was a perfect 16-0 on the year, having won his maiden major title at the Australian Open in January.

Sinner had played flawlessly through the first three months of the season and entered the match as slight favourite with Alcaraz stepping onto court 11-3 on the year. The 22-year-old’s favourite tag seemed justified after the opening set, with Sinner cruising into a 6-1 lead. Sinner produced the perfect start, hitting six winners to Alcaraz’s one, according to Infosys ATP Stats.

However, Alcaraz did not surrender. The Spaniard fought through the opening game of set two and earned a crucial hold to stem the tide. He eliminated the early errors that plagued him in the opening set and began to find his footing in long rallies, finding greater variety to level. The 21-year-old continued to mix up his tactics in the final set and lost just three points on serve in a one-sided decider. By moving back to "Medvedev territory" on return, he hurt Sinner with big cuts to begin the point and often began the rallies on the front foot.

After two hours and five minutes, Alcaraz sealed victory on his third match point to end Sinner’s unbeaten start to the season. With his win, Alcaraz advanced to his his sixth ATP Masters 1000 final (4-1), denying Sinner his fourth at the time (1-2). It was Alcaraz's first tour-level final since he lost to Novak Djokovic in the previous August in a Cincinnati epic; he had been 0-4 in semi-finals since that defeat.

"I stayed strong mentally," said Alcaraz, who pointed to his head after the win. "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."

Alcaraz then faced Medvedev in the final, cruising to a straight sets win to clinch his fifth Masters 1000 title.

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a>
Photo Credit: Getty Images

China Open 2023, SF, Sinner d. Alcaraz 7-6(4), 6-1
After Alcaraz won 7-4 tie-breaks to open each of their previous two matches, Sinner claimed the opening-set tie-break by the same scoreline at the China Open.

In a marathon opening frame, Sinner twice came back from a break down. He began to take control by moving Alcaraz around the baseline and winning all 15 of his net points in the set.

After navigating a tense opening to the second set, fighting off five break points across his first two service games, Sinner sprinted through the finish line.

"For sure in the very top [of the big matches I've played]," the Italian said of the win. "I would say every match against him is very tough. We always show great respect, we both play great. When we play against each other, we try to stay on our limits."

Sinner followed up the victory by beating Medvedev in the Beijing final to claim his fourth tour-level title of the season, equalling his personal-best tally from 2021.

Miami Open presented by Itau, SF, Sinner d. Alcaraz 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2
Two weeks after their Indian Wells showdown, Sinner gained swift revenge with a comeback victory at the Miami Open presented by Itau. In a show-stopping semi-final, Sinner won one of the points of the year: an action-packed 25-ball rally that ended with a delicate, dipping passing shot to bring the crowd to its feet.

Despite that moment of magic — and early leads in all three sets — Sinner was on the ropes when he faced two break points at 3-4 in the second. But the Italian answered the bell with a match-changing surge, winning 19 of 21 points to take the set and build a 2-0 lead in the decider.

Alcaraz appeared to be struggling physically early in set three, but he willed his way to one final push. In the end, his 22 winners were not enough to overcome 28 off the racquet of his opponent.

You May Also Like: Watch Alcaraz & Sinner's first meeting

"It means a lot. We both played a very, very high level of tennis again. I just tried my best," Sinner said after advancing to his second Miami final. "We both tried to play very aggressive tennis and today it went my way so I'm very happy."

Sinner was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in the Miami final but went on to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title later in the season in Toronto.

BNP Paribas Open 2023, SF, Alcaraz d. Sinner 7-6(4), 6-3
Alcaraz captured his third ATP Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open in 2023, returning to No. 1 in the PIF 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.”

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 major title at Flushing Meadows and by doing so he became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the PIF ATP Rankings.

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.

<a href=''>Jannik Sinner</a>
Photo Credit: Adrian Dennis/Getty Images

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