Alcaraz Secures World No. 2 Ranking Ahead Of Sinner But Djokovic Still Out Of Reach

Alcaraz Secures World No. 2 Ranking Ahead Of Sinner But Djokovic Still Out Of Reach

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner played for more than a finals spot in Saturday's much-anticipated semifinal clash in Indian Wells.

The undefeated Italian knew another win to add to his 16 victories this season would guarantee him a career-high ranking of World No. 2 on Monday. Alcaraz, meanwhile, was looking to reach another final at the desert and have a shot at retaining his crown.

But most importantly for the Spaniard, a win over Sinner would cement his spot in the top two. In his pre-match press conference, Alcaraz called it "the most difficult" match of his season, and he couldn't have been wrong.

Sinner had put together one of the best starts to a season by an ATP player since Rafael Nadal won 20 straight matches in 2022. In that run, he had beaten Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev to win his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

Alcaraz is in the midst of his longest title drought since breaking the Top 10. He also trailed Sinner in the head-to-head (3-4) in tour-level meetings. The 20-year-old made a disturbing revelation to his fans that he did not practice at full intensity before Indian Wells because of an ankle injury he sustained at the Rio Open.

With all these ingredients under consideration, Sinner was the clear favorite in many people's eyes. Even Alcaraz's impressive form during the fortnight did not change that opinion.

The first set supported the narrative that Alcaraz was struggling with confidence. But tennis is known to be a quick-turnaround sport, and one point or one game can rapidly change a player's season.

In the fourth game of the second set, the former World No. 1 broke Sinner for the first time and fended off a couple of breakback points on his serve to level the match.

In the third set, Alcaraz went into overdrive, barely missing any returns and breaking the Italian twice to seal victory and his place in the top two. Alcaraz, however, defends plenty of points in the coming weeks, and it is impossible for him to topple Novak Djokovic in the rankings for another month.


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