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The Streak Ends: Jannik Sinner Reflects On Semifinal Loss To Carlos Alcaraz
3 Min Read · March 16, 2024

Level-headed and with a perspective that many would say are beyond his 22 years, Jannik Sinner wasn’t panicking after his impressive, extended winning streak came to an end on Saturday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

It had to happen sometime, and since 1990, only luminaries Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras have had longer men’s streaks to start a campaign. They’ve all won double digits in Grand Slams.

Sinner’s friend, Carlos Alcaraz, was the player who beat the Italian in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 as the daytime contest turned to evening thanks to rare — though not so rare this edition — rain in the desert. Sinner last tasted defeat against Djokovic near the end of last season and since that time, had won 19 in a row, and 16 to start 2024, including a maiden Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open. 

“Look, 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,” said Sinner. “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.”

And fans are no doubt grateful for the tennis he produced, as well as what Sinner and Alcaraz produced in tandem in the latest instalment of their captivating, still young rivalry. Sinner had won the last two duels against the two-time Grand Slam champion and came out flying as the rain gave way to sunshine for a time. But then the Spaniard recovered for a significant win. His last win over Sinner also came in Indian Wells 12 months ago.

“Beating Jannik, we have a really good rivalry,” said Alcaraz, who bids for two titles in a row in the desert. “And of course (the) match streak, and to be able to end something like this, it's incredible for me.” 

So where did the match get away from Sinner? 

He flexed his left leg in the latter stages and also hurt his elbow as he dived to chase an Alcaraz volley early in the third.

“I had some problems, just small problems, but it was okay throughout until the third set,” said Sinner. “Then when I fell, I felt a little bit the elbow because I fell over the elbow and I rolled over. So was for me after, tough to serve.” 

Sinner, however, didn’t dwell on that. He gave full credit to Alcaraz, who can push players like few can, and said his own game became predictable. 

“Now he showed already so many things that, for sure, you are always impressed when you play against him,” said Sinner. “But you are also prepared like for certain shots, drop shots. 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 (was) that I was too predictable at some points. I was doing the same things over and over again, which in my mind let me down.”

Not much has gone wrong for Sinner in the past five-plus months. It didn’t go his way Saturday but he still enjoyed proceedings.

“This is one of the best places to play tennis, no? Packed stadium. Two young players trying their best,” said Sinner. “This is fun, to play there. For sure you want to win. But there will be occasions in the future where you win some and you lose some. There is nothing you can do about. 

“Most important part is that you give 100 percent, which I've done today. I was struggling in the third set, but he used it as his advantage, and that's it, no? I enjoy these kind of matches. That's also why I practice for, no?”


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