“It’s really difficult to play against him” Alcaraz unpacks his defeat to Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz has praised Jannik Sinner following his loss in the China Open semi-finals, and is looking forward to the Shanghai Masters where he’ll take a lot of confidence
It’s not often that Carlos Alcaraz looks like he’s run out of ideas on a tennis court, but that’s exactly how the Spaniard appeared at times in his 7-6 (4), 6-1 defeat to Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals of the China Open on Monday.
After a tight opening set where Alcaraz was up a break and had chances for a double break, his opponent found top gear and tore away with the match in the second set, leaving the top seed looking clueless.
Speaking to the media in Beijing after his semi-final loss, the Spaniard has confessed that while he was happy with the level of his tennis in many respects, Sinner simply outplayed him across the match.
Alcaraz rues missed chances against Sinner
“I think I played a good tennis in the first set,” Carlos Alcaraz began in his post-match press conference. “I had chances to have the second break in the first set. Didn’t take it. Some break points after. Didn’t take it.”
The top seed then went on to explain how his opponent made it particularly difficult for him to win in the semi-final.
“Against players like Jannik, if you don’t take the chances, it’s more difficult to win or to be up in the score. Is something that I have to learn about,” Alcaraz said.
“Obviously he played really good tennis, as well. I had to change a little bit my game. I couldn’t do that. I tried to play deeper. I couldn’t. I tried to play more tactically. I didn’t do well in that part. That’s something that I have to learn about if I want to beat Jannik.
“This is something that in the second set I was out of my mind. I just complaining a lot, something that is really difficult to play your best if you’re complaining or you mad of yourself. That what it happened.”
“That’s why he’s one of the best in the world” – Alcaraz on Sinner’s strengths
Each time Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have met, it’s been a close match. In fact, four of their seven previous meetings had gone the distance, to either three or five sets, generating some of the best matches of their tournaments.
This time in Beijing, despite the opening set going to a tiebreaker, Alcaraz simply didn’t have answers to Sinner’s ultra-aggressive hitting, leading to a lop-sided scoreline overall. The Spaniard credits his opponent for making his life so difficult.
“Jannik is really a complete player. He almost did it everything well. He push you to the limit in every shot. You have to hit perfectly the ball if you want to be alive in the point,” Alcaraz said of the China Open finalist, who will move to No 4 in the world for the first time after this tournament.
“Even if you think you hit the ball really, really well, even that he can return it better than yours. It’s something that he do it very, very well. The return, his return, is amazing. His serve is really well, as well.
“It’s really difficult to play against him. Obviously his mobility is really well, as well. You have to find the way to beat him or to be dangerous to his tennis. It’s difficult. That’s why he’s one of the best in the world,” declared the 20-year-old.
For Alcaraz, he now switches his focus to the upcoming Rolex Shanghai Masters, where he says he’ll be heading with a lot of confidence and full health.