Carlos Alcaraz to face Daniil Medvedev in Indian Wells final rematch after last-four fightbacks | Tennis

Carlos Alcaraz has rallied from a set down after a three-hour rain delay to end Jannik Sinner’s 19-match winning streak and clinch a spot in the final against Daniil Medvedev at Indian Wells.

The Spaniard defeated Sinner 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the BNP Paribas Open decider while also retaining his world No 2 ranking with the victory. Alcaraz extended his own winning streak to 11 matches as he moved into the final.

Alcaraz will meet Medvedev after the world No 4 beat Tommy Paul 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in the second semi-final. Paul, seeded 17, lost the second set on a tie break before a medical timeout, while Medvedev then took control as he won the decider 6-2.

Sinner led Alcaraz 2-1 in the first set when the match was suspended for more than three hours because of rain in the Southern California desert. Rain had also affected the women’s semi-finals the day before.

Australian Open champion Sinner has been the hottest player on tour this year and looked poised to run away with the match after play resumed and Alcaraz sent a forehand long to end the 34-minute opening set.

But Alcaraz changed his tactics from there, coming to the net more and moving Sinner up and back. Alcaraz earned the only break of the second set in the fourth game with a forehand drop volley winner. The right-hander faced a break point on his serve in the seventh game, but shook it off to eventually serve out the set.

The Spaniard broke Sinner in the third and fifth games of the third, while both players were blasting the ball from their side and attacking the net which made for several entertaining and sharply angled volley exchanges.

Alcaraz led 40-love on his serve for his first match point when he netted a backhand. Sinner’s smash dashed Alcaraz’s second match point before the Spaniard closed it out with a forehand crosscourt winner.

“I stayed strong mentally and that’s very important,” Alcaraz said. “I had to run more, defend better than I did in the first set. Put more balls in. Stay strong on the court.”

Sinner could have leapfrogged Alcaraz and into No 2 in the world rankings with a victory, after winning 19 matches in a row including 16 straight this year. But the Italian paid the price for 38 unforced errors to 24 for Alcaraz, although Sinner also had 21-19 winners.

Daniil Medvedev defeated Tommy Paul to set up a final rematch with Carlos Alcaraz at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

Alcaraz and Medvedev will meet in a rematch of last year’s final in Indian Wells. The Spaniard came away with the title in 2023, sweeping Medvedev 6-3, 6-2.

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“I saw Carlos today, he was playing pretty well, second and third set especially,” Medvedev said. “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.”

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.”

In the women’s doubles final, top-seeded Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Elise Mertens of Belgium defeated third-seeded Storm Hunter of Australia and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4. The winners split $447,300.

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