Alcaraz can take No.1 ranking in Indian Wells decider
Carlos Alcaraz has earned the chance to reclaim the tennis world No.1 ranking from Novak Djokovic when he meets a red-hot Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells Masters final.
Top seed Alcaraz defeated Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in their semi-final on Saturday night to set up a title clash with Medevdev who downed Frances Tiafoe 7-5 7-6 (7-4) for his 19th consecutive match victory of the year.
Djokovic, a five-time champion at Indian Wells, withdrew before the tournament began after he wasn't allowed to enter the US because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Nineteen-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz and Italian Sinner, 21, had split their four previous meetings, with Alcaraz winning both matches on hard courts, including a marathon US Open quarter-final thriller.
"Jannik obviously is a really great player with great shots," said Alcaraz, who has not dropped a set all tournament.
"I would say we're going to have a great rivalry over the years. We are playing in the best tournaments in the world. We are going to play a lot of great matches. All I can say is I'm really happy with my first final here in Indian Wells."
Since missing January's Australian Open through injury, Alcaraz has reached the final in all three of his 2023 events, with a win in Buenos Aires and a defeat in Rio de Janeiro, both against Cameron Norrie
Russian Medvedev, the fifth seed, has dominated Tiafoe, winning all five of their career meetings, including 12 of 13 sets in the process.
But the 14th-seeded American put up a valiant fight, saving seven match points in the second set before succumbing.
Since falling to an upset third-round loss to Sebastian Korda at the Australian Open, Medvedev's winning streak dates to his title run in Rotterdam in February. He then won tournaments in Doha and Dubai.
Now, the 2021 US Open champion and former world No.1 is in position to add another one.
"If I didn't win this match, I think I would have nightmares for a very long time. I would not sleep well tonight and a few nights more," Medvedev said.
Tiafoe saved three match points while serving down 5-3 in the second. Medvedev piled up four more match points while serving for the match leading 6-5, but couldn't cash in until the tiebreaker.
"That makes me even happier mentally that I still managed to win," Medvedev said, "because try playing a tiebreak when you just lost seven match points. I managed to start it well straightaway doing great shots and great rallies."