Carlos Alcaraz: "It's going to be a great rivalry between me and Sinner" - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz: “It’s going to be a great rivalry between me and Sinner”



Carlos Alcaraz returns to South Florida to defend his title at the Miami Open. Alcaraz is aiming to remain at the top of the ATP Ranking and become the eighth player in history to win the Sunshine Double after winning his first Indian Wells title. 


Alcaraz withdrew from the Australian Open due to a harmstring injury he suffered in training. In his first tournament at the Golden Swing in South America Alcaraz won his seventh title at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires, beating second seed Cameron Norrie. One week Alcaraz beat Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry at the Rio Open in Rio de Janeiro to reach back-to-back finals as defending champion, but he lost to Norrie in the final. 

At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells Alcaraz beat Tallon Griekspoor recording his 100th career match win. He has become the second fastest player to reach this milestone since John McEnroe. The Spanish player beat Felix Auger Aliassime in the quarter final and Jannik Sinner in the semifinal to reach the final. He clinched his eighth career title beating Danil Medvedev, becoming the first player to win the Masters 1000 tournament in the Californian desert without dropping a set since Roger Federer in 2017. 

Alcaraz will remain at the top of the ATP Ranking if he completes the “Sunshine Double”, because he is dropping the 1000 points he won in Miami last year. Novak Djokovic will return to world number 1 if Alcaraz does not win the Miami Open title. 

 “I don’t feel the pressure too much. I know the things I have to do. I need to play relaxed and not mind if I lose or I play well or not. My goal is always the same. To feel comfortable on court. To enjoy playing tennis and try to have great thoughts when playing. That is why I am playing at a good level. I am enjoying every single second and playing relaxed. That is what I am thinking about on court”, said Alcaraz. 

At last year’s edition of the Miami Open Alcaraz became the youngest men’s champion in tournament history. He beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 16, Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter final, Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinal and Casper Ruud in the final. 

“I have great supporters here. I remember last year was unbelievable feeling with the crowd. There are a lot of people who speak Spanish, so I feel at home. Playing great matches against great players, it was an amazing run last year. I am really excited to come here in front of all the fans. I can’t wait”, said Alcaraz. 

Alcaraz will start his campaign against either Facundo Bagnis or a qualifier before a potential clash against Andy Murray in the third round. 

Alcaraz has a seasonal record of 14 wins to just 1 defeat, but he is never satisfied as he is always trying to improve his game. 

“I always say you can improve everything a little bit more. You have to improve, you have to get better every day. That is why the big players, the “Big Three” for example, did throughout their careers, improving a bit every day”.  

Alcaraz beat Sinner 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in their first match of the season in the Indian Wells semifinal last Saturday. The Spanish player now leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches against his Italian rival. 

Alcaraz beat Sinner 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 in their first head-to-head match in the Round of 32 of the Paris Bercy Rolex Masters. They clashed three times in 2022. Sinner beat Alcaraz twice in the fourth round at Wimbledon 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 and in the Croatian Open in Umag 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-1. 

In their most recent head-to-head battle Alcaraz beat Sinner in an epic five-set clash by the scoreline of 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-7 (0-7) 7-5 6-3 after five hours and 15 minutes.  

The rivalry between Alcaraz and Sinner has drawn comparison to that of the Big 3. The two young stars are pushing each other to be better players, just like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal did in the past seasons. 

“No matter who won, I think our previous matches have been great fun for the fans, and also for us. I am going to push myself to be a better player to beat him. I think it is going to be the same for him as well. I will push him to be a better player as Djokovic, Nadal and Federer did when they were younger. I think it’s going to be a great rivalry. We are great friends outside the court”, said Alcaraz. 

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Iga Swiatek Appeared To Have An Easy Path To A Third French Title



Iga Swiatek’s path to a third French Open title in four years looked so easy and accommodating.


There was a Brazilian left-hander few fans knew anything about and a Czech ranked 43rd in the world.

There wasn’t even power-hitting Aryna Sabalenka to worry about this time.

Surely, Swiatek could do a French waltz right past Beatriz Haddad Maia to the final and then take care of Karolina Muchova on Saturday.


The table was set for 22-year-old Iga Swiatek, the current No. 1 who couldn’t lose, or so it seemed.

But Haddad Maia turned out to be better than most observers expected in Thursday’s women’s semifinals. The Brazilian was 6-1 tall, and apparently capable of getting into Swiatek’s head.

The Polish Wonder couldn’t keep her eyes on the ball and still watch Haddad Maia’s move from a very wide stance to a narrow, moving, sometimes closer position even before Swiatek could make contact with her service toss.


A double fault here and a double fault there, and Swiatek was in the middle of some serious opposition from Haddad Maia. Swiatek was even forced into a 16-point match tiebreaker before she could claim a 6-2, 7-6 (7) victory.

Most of the time, fans have grown to expect love games and few double faults from the usually near-flawless slender and speedy 5-9 Swiatek.

And now she could think about one more opponent. And Muchova already had taken care of Swiatek’s key rival for the world’s No. 1 ranking, the second-ranked Sabalenka, earlier in the day.


Muchova made Sabalenka pay for her reckless play and over-hit forehands. Muchova, a slender  26-year-old, even won 20 of the last 24 points in a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5 upset of Sabalenka.

Of course, current Australian Open champion Sabalenka was hoping for a shot at a second straight Grand Slam title. From a break-point 5-2, match point opportunity in the third set, Sabalenka couldn’t find the court.

Once again, Swiatek will be going against an opponent who held a 1-0 edge in head-to-head matchups before the current French Open. Swiatek had lost one three-set match each against Haddad Maia and the 5-11 Muchova.

Don’t expect the gifted Swiatek to feel the pressure so much in the final against Muchova. The semifinal against Haddad Maia was just a little different. 

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Is Iga Swiatek On Her Way To Becoming A Roland Garros Legend?



Rafa Nadal couldn’t have done it better.


There was Iga Swiatek dominating another top 10 opponent on the court Rafa loves so much, while her favourite player is still sidelined by hip surgery and expects his legendary career to come to a close next year.

Indeed, Swiatek may be on her way to becoming a legend herself on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open. The Polish Wonder already owns two titles at Roland Garros and is in line to possibly win two more matches there over the next three days for a third French title.

Of course, that’s a long way from the number of titles Nadal has won in the Paris Grand Slam. Fourteen titles sound like an out-of-reach dream for anyone to capture at the same Grand Slam, even the 22-year-old Swiatek.


The top-ranked Swiatek was on her game in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, starting strong and then winning nine of the last 12 games against young Coco Gauff in a 6-4, 6-2 win over last year’s runner-up.

Gauff played her usual aggressive game, but at times appeared to go for too much too often. She appeared to overpower Swiatek at times with her big serve, but only on first serves. Otherwise, the 19-year-old American didn’t seem to have her weapons under control much of the match.


No one in the women’s game anticipates better than Swiatek. She always appears to be ready for the next shot.

Opponents can never count Iga out. And allowing her to get ahead in a match is almost like turning over the controls to Swiatek, who already owns three Grand Slam titles and has now advanced to the semifinals in four of her last six Grand Slams.

Swiatek jumped out to a 3-1 lead against the sixth-ranked Gauff, then dropped a pair of games before taking full charge of the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Casper Ruud Topples Rune To Reach French Open Semis



Casper Ruud came out on top in his all-Scandinavian clash with Holger Rune to seal his place in the semi-finals of the French Open. 


Ruud, who is seeded fourth in the draw, battled to a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, win over his Danish opponent in what was a topsy-turvy encounter on the Philippe Chatrier Court. It is the second year in a row that the Norwegian has defeated Rune in the last eight of Roland Garros and he now leads their head-to-head 6-1. He is through to the last four of a major for only the third time in his career. 

“I’m very relieved. I came into this match trying to not play with pressure but it is not easy when you’re playing a big match against Holger who is never easy,” Rune said during his post-match interview. “He is very aggressive. Luckily for me the first two sets he wasn’t feeling it too well. He made a lot of errors and I got a lot of points for free.’
“That helped settle my nerves but he fought back in the third set. In the fourth set, I was lucky to keep that break.”

The highly anticipated nighttime clash began in one-way fashion with Ruud claiming 12 out of the first 15 games with relative ease as an erratic Rune struggled to find his game on the court, hitting a total of 40 unforced errors during the first two sets. 

It wasn’t until the third frame that Ruud finally faced some resistance on the court as his opponent orchestrated the crowd to get behind him. Prompting the 20-year-old to hit a series of impressive shots to revive his hopes.

However, Rune’s comeback was short-lived as Ruud broke once more midway through the fourth set as he moved to a game away from victory. He earned his first match point at 5-2 following a double fault from his rival but failed to convert. Two more opportunities then came and went for Ruud before he managed to serve the match out in the following game.

“I think I did well,” he replied when asked about how he handled his nerves. “I kind of looked at it (the match) as if he was the favourite. He won the last time we played and he has had a better year than me so far.’
“He was hoping to get into his first (Grand Slam) semi-final and I was hungry to get into another semi-final. Luckily it worked out well for me.”

Awaiting the 24-year-old in the semi-finals on Friday will be Alexander Zverev who defeated Tomás Martín Etcheverry in four sets. He trails their head-to-head 1-2 but they have never faced each other on clay. 

“Ruud has been there before. He was in the final here last year, so he knows exactly what it means and what it takes,” Zverev told reporters.  

Ruud is now 16-5 this season when it comes to playing matches on the clay. Since the start of 2020, he has registered 86 wins on the surface which is more than any other player on the ATP Tour.

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