INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP)Carlos Alcaraz defeated Jannik Sinner 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the BNP Paribas Open final against Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev beat Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6 (4) on his eighth match point for his 19th consecutive match victory of the year.
Alcaraz needs to win the title Sunday to regain the No. 1 ranking in the world from Novak Djokovic. The Serb, a five-time champion in Indian Wells, withdrew before the tournament began after he wasn’t allowed to enter the U.S. because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Alcaraz and the 11th-seeded Sinner had split their four previous meetings, with Alcaraz winning both matches on hard courts.
“Jannik is a great player, and he pushes me to improve and makes me play at a high level,” Alcaraz said. “I’m really happy with the level that I played, and the way that I overcome the problem, I saved one set point in the first set.”
Alcaraz never faced a break point against Sinner, who only made 48% of his first serves and 19 of 36 points on serve in the second set. He trailed 3-0 in the second set.
“I didn’t serve well today, which made the biggest difference,” Sinner said. “The baseline rallies I felt okay, I had my chances, especially first set. But he played the important points better than me today, so he deserved to win.”
Alacarz had 28 winners and 14 unforced errors.
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.
“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 on court.
Tiafoe regularly charged the net to counter Medvedev’s power baseline game. He saved three break points and stayed on serve until the 11th game of the first set. But Medvedev had a net-cord forehand winner to go up 6-5 and then served out the set.
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.”
Medvedev had 30 winners and just nine unforced errors.
Medvedev’s 19-match winning streak dates to his title run in Rotterdam in February. He then won tournaments in Doha and Dubai. Now, the 2021 U.S. Open champion and former world No. 1 is in position to add another one.
Medvedev has proven resilient during the 12-day tournament in the Southern California desert. He overcame a badly twisted ankle and a cut thumb in two straight matches to power through to the final.
Rohan Boponna of India and Matt Ebden of Australia defeated top-seeded Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Neil Skupski of Britain 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 to win the men’s doubles title.
Boponna, who is 43, won his fifth Masters 1000 doubles title and first since 2017. He and Ebden, who is 35, were in their third final of the year.
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the women’s doubles title with a 6-1, 6-7 (3), 10-7 victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and Laura Siegemund of Germany.
The Czech duo improved to 11-0 this year, having won the Australian Open championship in January.
They men’s and women’s doubles winner each split $436,730 in prize money.
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