The Citizen (KZN)

Sinner looking at his next step


Indian Wells – Jannik Sinner’s 19-match winning streak ended with a three-set loss to Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday in Indian Wells, where the “grateful” Italian was already analyzing how to be better.

Spain’s Alcaraz, the defending champion in the prestigiou­s ATPWTA Masters event, rallied after dropping the first set for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Sinner.

Not only did he book a return trip to the final, he denied Sinner’s bid – at least for now – to grab the world No 2 ranking for the first time.

Sinner (above), whose 16-0 start to the year included his maiden Grand Slam title and a victory at Rotterdam, said he wasn’t too concerned about the end of a winning streak that stretched to last year.

“I don’t think so much about that,” the 22-year-old said. “I’ve been positive throughout this winning streak, positive even now, because, I lost in the semis of Indian Wells, which is still a great result.

“Now, the next tournament is Miami. So I’m focused already for Miami. For sure it’s tough that it has to end like this here, because for me this is a really special place to play in, but I feel grateful for what I’m doing.”

Sinner came out strong after a three-hour rain delay that halted the match after just three games.

He won four straight games to take the first set, but Alcaraz made the adjustment­s he needed to take control in the second.

“You are always impressed when you play against him,” Sinner said.

“He’s moving really, really fast, as we know. Especially on this court where the ball bounces really high, it’s not easy to play against him, because he can play with a lot of spin.

“But what I have missed today (is) that I was too predictabl­e at some points,” Sinner added.

“I was doing the same things over and over again, which in my mind let me down...I think that’s the lesson for today.”

Despite the outcome, Sinner said he relished the chance to take on Alcaraz on such a big stage.

“Packed stadium. Two young players trying their best. This is fun,” he said.

One scrambling rally had Sinner diving to get a ball back. He came up shaking out his right arm and rubbing his elbow.

“At the moment, I feel a little bit everything on my body,” he said with a smile. “But it’s normal.

“When I fell, I fell over the elbow and I rolled over.” –

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