Match Preview

Sinner and Alcaraz prepare the show: “Everyone wants to see this match”

Spaniard and Italian keep a Lexus ATP Head2Head tied (4-4)

June 05, 2024

Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner meet for the third time in Grand Slam (1-1).
By Arthur Kapetanakis

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz arrived at Roland Garros amid big questions about their health. Both missed the Rome tournament due to injury, Sinner affected by a hip problem and Alcaraz with discomfort in a forearm.

After five games in Paris, any doubts about his physical condition have been eliminated. The only pending question attracts all eyes: who will display a better level of tennis in the Roland Garros semifinals this Friday?

Sinner, who will debut as No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings at the close of the tournament, has dropped just one set en route to his first semifinal in Paris. His rising level on clay allowed him to beat No. 10 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3), underscoring his title contender status on the surface.

“He does everything perfectly,” Alcaraz said about his rival. “The way he hits the ball is spectacular. He moves really well. He pushes you to the limit on every ball, on every point. I think that’s the hardest thing about competing with Jannik.”

“At the same time, I love that. I love those kinds of matches. I like that kind of challenge, having a really difficult battle against him.”

After Alcaraz beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the quarterfinals, the Greek accepted being outmatched – a feeling that few rivals are capable of generating. Sinner is another player who often leaves his opponents without answers, something that makes this matchup so special.

Alcaraz can pull the trigger at any time with his imposing game, capable of generating damage from any point on the court. However, Sinner’s great coordination poses a perfect counterbalance. Although the Italian is usually more methodical in his attacks, he also easily generates power capable of competing with anyone on the ATP Tour. With the arsenal of spectacular shots that both have, and the joy with which they compete, fun is guaranteed.

After eight duels in what could be one of the most brilliant Lexus ATP Head2Head in tennis, both are tied 4-4. Jannik and Carlos shared their two previous Grand Slam duels in 2022, at Wimbledon (Sinner) and the US Open (Alcaraz), and have met only once on clay, when Sinner took a three-set final in Umag that same year. With the collection of dizzying exchanges they have had on hard courts, the surface of Paris presents a huge opportunity for stellar moments.

Alcaraz climbed to world No. 1 for the first time after lifting the 2022 US Open, while Sinner secured his rise to the top of the PIF ATP Rankings at the close of Roland Garros on Tuesday. The Italian recognized the weight of this achievement, but his most immediate thoughts focus on his level on clay.

“It’s a big milestone, but I want to test myself on this surface,” he acknowledged. “It’s a type of court where I’ve struggled at times, especially at the beginning. We’ve seen that in recent years. That makes me even happier to be in the semi-finals.”

“I came with some physical doubts, but my body seems stronger every day. That was my main objective when coming here. I’m glad to have the opportunity to play in a match as important to me as the semifinals. We’ll see what I can do.”

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In his press conference, the Italian assessed the differences between clay and hard courts. “It’s a very physical surface, where you play more tennis,” he explained. “On hard court, sometimes you hit two quick hits and the point is over. Or you hit a good serve and it’s over. On this surface, there are more key moments that you have to understand.”

Alcaraz has grown up on clay, with seven trophies on the surface compared to just one in the hands of Sinner. The Spaniard will try to maintain his constant growth at Roland Garros, after reaching the third round, the quarterfinals and the semifinals in his three previous participations. Alcaraz also won the most recent Lexus ATP Head2Head matchup against Sinner, winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 en route to his second consecutive title in Indian Wells.

Although none of those heats were particularly close on the scoreboard, the games and the points were impressive. If the match was drama-free, it was full of fun.

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Although Alcaraz is proud of having “found solutions” to overcome that duel, he knows that Sinner has all the weapons to respond this Friday.

“I’m probably a little nervous about facing him. I’m not going to lie,” Carlos admitted. “It is one of the most complicated challenges we now have in tennis. I think he is the best player in the world.”

“It’s going to be interesting. The games we’ve played before have been impressive. I think everyone wants to see this game.”

Tennis fans have been waiting for this semifinal clash since the draw was drawn. It seems that the players, both full of charisma and youth, are as excited as the spectators at the Court Philippe-Chatrier.

“I hope everyone enjoys this match as much as I will,” Alcaraz said.


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