Carlos Alcaraz suffered a dramatic defeat this Friday against the Italian Jannik Sinner in the semifinals of the Masters 1000 in Miami, which will also mean handing over the ATP number one again to the Serbian Novak Djokovic.
The Murcian tennis player, who needed to revalidate this trophy to maintain world leadership, fell 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 and 6-2 in a spectacular duel of three hours and three minutes in which he faced cramps in the last set.
Sinner, number 11 on the ATP, this time emerged unscathed from the fight between the two great pearls of the circuit and will fight for his first Masters 1000 in the final on Sunday against the Russian Daniil Medvedev.
“This obviously means a lot. We both played at a very high level again. I just tried to do my best,” Sinner said. “We both played very aggressive tennis and today (the victory) fell on my side.”
At 19 years old, Alcaraz accumulated an astonishing streak of 10 victories in a row without dropping a single set with which this month he lifted his first Indian Wells title, on a tour in which he eliminated Sinner in the semifinals and swept Medvedev in the final. .
Devourer of records of precocity, the Spaniard aspired to become on Sunday the youngest tennis player to win in the same year in Indian Wells and Miami, an exclusive double for the giants of this sport known as the “Sunshine Double”.
But Friday’s loss to Sinner, his great generational rival, ruined all these plans and forced the Spanish phenomenon to cede the world number one he had regained on March 19 with his triumph in Indian Wells.
Djokovic will return to the top of the ATP on Monday despite not having been able to travel to the United States to compete in these two Masters 1000 due to his refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“For me this is as if I had only lost the semifinal,” he stressed. “I don’t think that I lost number one or that I lost the ‘Sunshine Double,'” Alcaraz stressed to the press.
«Of course it is a shame, but I had the opportunity to get the double and I have more years to try. All I can think about is improving my level to beat Jannik,” he assured.
In the prelude to the double booty, the prodigy from El Palmar collided with a revenge-hungry Sinner, who placed a tie at three victories in his personal record.
This rivalry has triggered in the last year the illusion of the fans, restless for the future of tennis when the ‘Big 3’ (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic) goes out completely.
In an epic confrontation at the last US Open, Alcaraz survived a duel of more than five hours against Sinner that ended around three in the morning.
On March 18, the Spaniard beat the Italian in the Indian Wells semifinals but this Friday Sinner put the stop in his talisman tournament, where he made himself known in 2021 when he was runner-up at age 19.
Alcaraz and Sinner delivered a high-carat first set, including a memorable 25-punch exchange that left the Spaniard to the ground and a crowd of celebrities including NBA superstar Luka Doncic and Colombian singer Maluma on their feet.
The number one was able to recover from a 1-4 deficit until bagging the first set in the ‘tiebreak’. In the second round, he was ahead 3-4 against a Sinner who, although he was the first to suffer some cramps, was resisting a third consecutive defeat tooth and nail.
In the ninth game he found a decisive break so that Alcaraz lost his first set of the tournament and had to fight in a third set in which the real difficulties began.
With almost two and a half hours played, Alcaraz began to make unusual mistakes and gave up his service at the first opportunity. Afflicted by cramps, the Spaniard had to stop several times on the track and flex his legs trying to drive away the pain.
“I started having cramps at the beginning of the third set, but it wasn’t the reason I lost the match,” stressed the Spaniard, who attributed the problem to a long five-minute break he took in the locker room after losing the second set.
“Then I started to feel better. But Jannik was better than me in the third set. That is the truth, “admitted Alcaraz, who had one less day of rest due to the postponement of his quarters due to the rain.
The clash led to a roller coaster of emotions in which the Spaniard, rebelling against such a costly defeat, came to have a break point to equalize the set.
Unlike at dawn in New York, Sinner resisted this time and ended up receiving the encouragement of his adversary and friend for the final on Sunday.
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