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Alcaraz stops Sinner: 18-year-old notches another top 10 victory in Paris

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner met for the first time at the ATP level and it was the 18-year-old Spaniard who claimed the impressive victory.

Carlos Alcaraz, Panoramic, Tennis Majors
  • What happened: Carlos Alcaraz defeated Jannik Sinner in the pair’s first ever ATP-level meeting.
  • Why it matters: Sinner’s chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals in Turin take a hit.
  • You might also learn: How much success Alcaraz has had against the top 10 since the US Open

The highly anticipated first ATP-level meeting between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, two rising forces in the men’s game, has gone the way of the 18-year-old Spaniard. In front of an engaged and energetic crowd on Court No 1 the Spaniard put forth a convincing performance against the world No 9 at the Rolex Paris Masters to earn his third top 10 victory since the US Open.

Alcaraz routinely foiled Sinner’s attacking game plan, and was able to win 15 of 24 points when the Italian ventured to the net. He also doubled up Sinner’s production from the forehand wing, striking 18 winners to just 9 for Sinner from that side.

“I’m still learning, gaining experience,” Alcaraz told reporters after the match. “I’m 35 right now. I mean, I’m really happy for the level I’m playing right now. So, I mean, I hope to be in the same position as Jannik Sinner in a couple of years, so I’m really happy for the level right now.”

Alcaraz finished with 26 winners against 20 unforced errors, while Sinner’s 20 winners paled in comparison to his 43 unforced errors.

It was a clean, professional performance from a teenager who has displayed a knack for playing like a seasoned veteran on tour over the last six months. Alcaraz has now defeated three top 10 players in his last four events – No 3 Tsitsipas at US Open, No 7 Berrettini at Vienna and No 9 Sinner in Paris.

Sinner’s Turin chances take a big hit

The loss deals a rough blow to Sinner’s chances of qualification for the ATP Finals at Turin. He entered the day in a qualifying position but has now been leapfrogged by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. Hurkacz adds 90 points to his total and now move 30 points clear of Sinner for eighth place in the race to Turin.

The Italian, who dropped to 45-20 on the season, may have a chance to qualify next week at Stockholm, depending on results of Hurkacz, as well as Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud over the next few days.

If he doesn’t qualify he’ll likely remember back to Vienna, where he served for the match at 5-2 against Frances Tiafoe in the semi-finals with 120 ranking points on the line, with some bitterness.

Alcaraz: “I played more aggressive than him”

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games of the match, the pair settled into a physical battle. Sinner saved a pair of break points while serving in the fourth game, and the pair eventually marched to a tiebreaker, which was dominated by the Spaniard.

The second set was characterized by constant pressure from Alcaraz, as Sinner showed his mental toughness by saving the first six break points he faced. The Italian saved three to hold for 2-1, and another three to hold for 3-2, but he couldn’t stop Alcaraz in the 11th game as the Spaniard engineered the break for 6-5, and served out the match to 30 in the next game.

“I think that I played really, really aggressive, more than him,” Alcaraz said after the match. “I think that this one of the keys, not let him play aggressive during the match. I think I was focus all the time to be what I have to do. Yeah, I think it was the key to play more aggressive than him.”

Sinner saved nine of eleven break points on the day, while Alcaraz saved one of the two break points he faced – he did not face a break point in the second set.

Gaston next for Alcaraz

The Spanish talent will take on one of France’s great hopes, 21-year-old Hugo Gaston in the round of 16 at Paris. Gaston notched a big upset on Wednesday by taking out another Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5.

Alcaraz and Gaston have never met before. The Spaniard says that fatigue will not be a factor when he takes the court again on Thursday.

“This is my first season, so there is no time to be tired right now,” he said. “I am just enjoying the end of the season. Yeah, feel good.”

Sinner: I hope we play many more

Though disappointed, Sinner spoke highly of Alcaraz, and hinted that he is looking forward to battling him many times in the future.

“First time on ATP Tour we played, so hopefully we can play many, many more,” Sinner said. “I think [it will be] the case, because he plays very, very high level. I play high level. We are young. So I hope so. But you never know. I think it was a good start from both of us, I would say.”

Alcaraz feels the same way.

“Jannik is there. He’s [ranked] 9 now,” he said. “All I can say is that I hope to play more battles against him, and battles like this one.”

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