Alcaraz stumbles against nemesis Sinner in Beijing
The Spaniard was left at the doors of the final after losing 6-7 1-6 to the Italian - the only rival who has beaten him four times. Sinner will meet Medvedev in the final.
Carlos Alcaraz was just one step away from playing the ATP 500 in Beijing in what would have been his ninth final of the year (6-2) and the 17th of his career (12-4). But it wasn’t to be... He ran into his nemesis on the circuit, an imperial Jannick Sinner who knew how to make the world number two suffer and beat him 6-7 (4) and 1-6 in just under two hours on Diamond Court in Beijing today. Sinner becomes the first tennis player to beat the Spaniard four times. Until now he shared three victories over Charly with Felix Auger-Aliassime (3-1) and Alexander Zverev (3-3).
It was the third time that both players had faced each other this season, in a rivalry that is surely going to be historic. In the previous encounters, the triumphs were shared, Alcaraz prevailed in Indian Wells and Sinner in Miami. The head-to-head is now dominated by the new world number four, the second Italian to enter the Top-5, after Adriano Panatta (4th in 1976). In his fifth final of 2023 (2-2), 12th of his career (8-3), Jannik will face Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday (after 7:30 p.m. local time). The Russian, the best of the year on hard courts (42 wins and four titles), beat Zverev 6-4, 6-3 in the other semi-final. He dominates in individual matches by a colossal 6-0.
Alcaraz missed a golden opportunity at the dizzying start of the first set, when he had two balls to go up 3-0 and serve in full display of rhythm and strength. However, Sinner knew how to withstand the onslaught and toughened up in time to avoid the double break and, immediately afterwards, tie the match for the first time. Because, although he later lost his serve again, he recovered everything else immediately and then maintained his serves until the situation was resolved favorably in a strange tiebreaker, in which Carlitos failed more than expected.
Sinner has discovered that the only possibility of surpassing his archenemy (on court) is to take away his time to hit the ball comfortably and puts a tremendous ball speed - a velocity which is within the reach of few players on the circuit.
Jannick took advantage of the momentum of his success to break in the opening game of the second set. Maximum alert for Alcaraz, forced to row against the current, something he had not had to do until then. Despite playing with considerable heat, and very angry at himself for his mistakes, he refused to give up and had two break options to level the contest, but Sinner resisted again. And he did it again on his next serve against 0-40 to then deliver the final blow. Double break, which his rival had not been able to achieve in the first round. It was his turn to taste victory and he consolidated the advantage with great authority. He is Superman Alcaraz’s kryptonite.
Jannik said afterwards: “For sure, in the very top [of the big matches I’ve played], 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”.