(Reuters) – Italian Jannik Sinner described Friday’s comeback victory over top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz at the Miami Open as one of the best of his career, saying the contest between the budding rivals displayed high levels of intensity.
Tenth seed Sinner defeated defending champion Alcaraz 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2 in an epic semi-final duel, ending the Spaniard’s reign at the top of the rankings, with Novak Djokovic set to take over on Monday.
Youngsters Sinner and Alcaraz have formed one of the most exciting rivalries on the ATP Tour, each enjoying three wins in their six meetings so far.
For Sinner, Friday’s victory came as an act of revenge after he lost to Alcaraz two weeks ago in the Indian Wells at the same stage.
“For sure it’s one of the best wins. Obviously, it was a very tough match. I think we both played a very, very high-level match,” Sinner, 21, told reporters.
“In the third set, I saw him struggling. I tried to push there, especially the first game, because I knew it’s the last game that he was serving with the used ball, so it’s a little bit easier to return.
“I think I changed a couple of things from Indian Wells to here, which I had to, and they went my way. So I’m happy about that.”
Sinner will face Russian Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final as he aims for his first Masters 1000 title. He has yet to beat Medvedev in five meetings, their most recent match coming in the Rotterdam final in February.
“Different conditions (here) than in Rotterdam. I’m very happy that I can face him in a final again,” Sinner said.
“The last one I lost obviously, but I’ll try my best, I’ll try to make some good changes like today against Carlos and let’s see. I feel good on this court.”
Alcaraz missed the chance to become the first player to win the “Sunshine Double” since Roger Federer in 2017 but the 19-year-old was happy to experience the “beautiful” rivalry with Sinner once again.
“I feel something different about the crowd when I play against Jannik. I think around the world is probably all the people watching this match because I think it’s really beautiful to watch,” Alcaraz said.
“I had an opportunity to get the Sunshine Double, but I think I’m going to have more years to try to get it. But all I can think about is to improve my level to beat Jannik.”
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)