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Men's Quarterfinals: Alcaraz Sets Up Semifinal Showdown With Sinner; Medvedev To Meet Paul
3 Min Read · March 14, 2024

In a match where a bee invasion interrupted play, Carlos Alcaraz produced stinging tennis against nemesis Alexander Zverev to prompt a blockbuster semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open.


Alcaraz defeated the former US Open finalist 6-3, 6-1 two months after Zverev handed him a tough four-set loss in the same round at the Australian Open. Make it 10 straight wins in Indian Wells for the men’s defending champion, who meets another surging performer in the semis in Jannik Sinner.

“He’s the best tennis player in the world right now, without a doubt,” said Alcaraz, who last defeated his pal last year in Indian Wells. “He's playing unbelievable, no losses this year. I really enjoy watching him play. So it's going to be a really difficult match. It's going to be a big challenge for me.”

Thursday’s outing on Stadium 1 began slightly after 3 p.m. local time and ended at about 6:20 p.m. Chalk that down to bees paying a visit and stopping proceedings at roughly 3:20 p.m for about one hour, 45 minutes.

When the duo resumed, Alcaraz was on fire. Sweet stuff from the two-time Grand Slam champion seeking a first final since August.

The 20-year-old’s running forehand passing shot at 4-1 had the crowd gasping. And you’d be hard pressed to find a player hitting three better shots in a row than what Alcaraz engineered early in the second set. He sealed the second game by serving and volleying, delivering a deft backhand volley. On the next point, Alcaraz showed his fabulous wheels by chasing a Zverev volley, then hitting a forehand and drawing an error. Then he carved out a forehand inside-out drop shot for 30-0. Zverev couldn’t do much, including on match point — a net-cord winner.

With actor Will Ferrell watching, it was no laughing matter for Zverev.

Sinner Makes it 19 Straight

There’s been plenty of talk about streaks lately.

That’s understandable, since Sinner extended his winning run to 19 by downing Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open on a sunny, chilly start to Thursday.

As a boy, how much did the Italian take note of Novak Djokovic’s 41-match streak to begin 2011?

“I was 10 years old,” Sinner said. “I was not following tennis, to be honest, because I was skiing much more, I was playing football. I know the stats now, but you cannot compare this with the best, with the Big 3 or Big 4. They are a different level, what they have showed in the years.”

Few would argue with that. But one can’t help but ponder how many more big titles are on the way for Sinner in the short and long term. 

He moved a step closer to a maiden Indian Wells final thanks to a clinical display against the flat-hitting Lehecka, which also made it 16 wins in succession to begin 2024.

The World No. 32 Lehecka dictated behind his serve against the formidable duo of Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas but found himself on the back foot early against his fellow 22-year-old. A deft forehand return and blistering forehand helped Sinner to break for 2-1 in the first. Lehecka — with former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych in his corner — continued to press forward and earned his lone break point at 3-4. Sinner slammed a serve to save it, though. In total, he has saved nine of 10 break points in Indian Wells. Unfortunately for Lehecka, the second set was similar to the first.

Paul Gets His Revenge

Tommy Paul was looking for, in his own words, “revenge” against Casper Ruud on Stadium 2 following Sinner’s win. He had lost four of his five matches against the three-time Grand Slam finalist. The World No. 17 knew they had all been close and in an effort to turn things around, said he would stick to his attacking brand of tennis.

He sure did and this time won a close one against the Norwegian, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to give the United States a men’s semifinalist in Indian Wells for the fourth straight time.

Oh, and he also collected a first Top 10 victory since last August.

The end wasn’t simple, though. Paul had to save two break points in a tense final game. The North Carolina-raised Paul saved his share of break points in the decider overall, five of six. He made 42 net approaches in total and won 25 points, not a margin overly in his favor. But one of them wrapped up the contest. Paul ventured forward on a risky cross court backhand slice but drew a backhand error.

A big smile followed and stayed there for a while.

Medvedev Wins Spicy Rune Match

On a chilly, windy night at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Daniil Medvedev edged Holger Rune in a back-and-forth first set on the way to a 7-5, 6-4 win. Rune had saved a match point Wednesday against Taylor Fritz to end a seven-match skid against Top 20 foes in completed matches but couldn’t rally against the World No. 4.

Medvedev and his counter-punching game led by a break at 4-3 in the first, only to be broken back. He reclaimed the advantage against Rune’s all-around game to clinch the opener in more than an hour.

Early in the second set, Medvedev took issue with Rune hitting a backhand towards him at the net. Medvedev suggested with a gesture that he was keeping an eye on the 20-year-old, but the two shook hands moments later. Medvedev dug out of a 0-30 hole in the last game, before the pair briefly exchanged more words at the net.

One more win and Medvedev reaches a second straight final in the desert.

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