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Alcaraz's No. 1 Chase, Sinner's Chance For Huge Rankings Jump

  • Posted: Mar 18, 2023

Alcaraz’s No. 1 Chase, Sinner’s Chance For Huge Rankings Jump

Tiafoe can crack the Top 10 for the first time

There is plenty at stake this weekend beyond the prestigious BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and Frances Tiafoe all have a big opportunity to make a move in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

If Alcaraz claims his third ATP Masters 1000 trophy, the Spaniard will pass Novak Djokovic and return to World No. 1 on Monday. The 19-year-old faces Sinner in the semi-finals.

Alcaraz, who became the youngest World No. 1 in history last September, held top spot for 20 weeks. He can return to the position for the first time since January, when Djokovic reclaimed World No. 1.

Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings (Entering Indian Wells SFs)

 Player  Live Ranking  Current Points  Max Points
 Carlos Alcaraz  2  6,780  7,420
 Daniil Medvedev  5  4,090  4,730
 Jannik Sinner  11  2,925  3,565
 Frances Tiafoe  14  2,710  3,350

The teen’s semi-final opponent, Sinner, has a big opportunity to climb to a new career high. The Italian is No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, but can surge to World No. 6 with the title.

Sinner’s career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking is World No. 9, which he achieved in November 2021. The 21-year-old will return to the Top 10 by reaching the final.

Medvedev will be World No. 5 on Monday regardless of his performance the rest of the week at Indian Wells. However, a title in the California desert will put him within 410 points of No. 4 Casper Ruud in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings on Monday.

Tiafoe will crack the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time if he wins his maiden Masters 1000 title this weekend. Even if the American loses in the semi-finals to Medvedev, he will match his career-high World No. 14 on Monday.

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Alcaraz Stares Down His Peers In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 18, 2023

Alcaraz Stares Down His Peers In Indian Wells

The Spaniard will take on Sinner for a place in the final

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

The future is bright for Carlos Alcaraz, one of the ATP Tour’s biggest stars at just 19 years old. The Spaniard has enjoyed a rapid rise in a sport in which careers are becoming ever longer, and where experience often rules over youth on the professional circuit. It seems nothing can slow the momentum of the Murcia native, however, who already appears on course for another historic season.

The emergence of Alcaraz’s special talent goes against the grain of the current trend. There have never been more players in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings over the age of 30 than there are now. Never have so many players resisted the pulls of retirement. However, the Spaniard is setting records for precociousness almost every time he steps on court.

In that battle against time, the 2023 BNP Paribas Open represents an opportunity for this young pretender to stare down the players with whom he will share his future in the game. Young players destined to occupy the upper echelons of tennis, those with whom he may have to battle for the biggest titles in years to come. These generational peers, whose arrival in the game comes in parallel with that of Alcaraz, are proving to be his strongest adversaries on court.

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SF Preview: Alcaraz, Sinner Renew Rivalry In Indian Wells

By way of example, alongside the Spaniard, there are currently three players under 23 years of age in the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Canadian player Felix Auger-Aliassime, Dane Holger Rune and the Italian Jannik Sinner. None of them, unlike the vast majority of other players, has a negative record against the Spanish prodigy. In Indian Wells, Carlos is preparing for the second of back-to-back clashes against two of them.

Auger-Aliassime, charged with stopping the Spaniard in the quarter-finals, was the perfect litmus test for Alcaraz’s toughness. The 22-year-old World No. 10 had won all of his duels with the young star prior to Friday’s match, unlike any other player on Tour. A 3-0 ATP Head2Head in favour of the North American gave Alcaraz something unique in his career: an unbeaten nemesis on the other side of the net.

The Murcia native had never even broken the Canadian’s serve in their three encounters. His 6-4, 6-4 win in Indian Wells therefore represents a true statement of intent against one of his biggest rivals.

“I knew that I had to stand strong,” admitted Alcaraz after overcoming Auger-Aliassime in California. “The previous matches were close. In the Davis Cup I had chances, but in Basel I remember I let my head drop a bit. My goal was not to give up, I might have more chances and, if they came, I had to make the most of them. I did it, I had one of my best matches of the year.”

Dismantling that wall has earned Alcaraz another generational examination. In the semi-finals, he will face 21-year-old Jannik Sinner. The Italian is one of the few players to have a tied ATP Head2Head series with Alcaraz after multiple matches (2-2). To say their most recent encounter was intense is an understatement.

Alcaraz and Sinner’s epic five-set 2022 US Open quarter-final may have fallen the way of the Spaniard, but it provided further evidence of how strong the peers of his generation are. The player from Murcia converted a match point after five hours and 15 minutes of play, at 2:50am, the latest finish in the history of the New York Grand Slam.

“At the end of the match, I had nothing left,” Alcaraz said after surviving one of the most spectacular and intense matches of 2022. “It was genuinely tough for me. The level of tennis we played was so high from start to finish. I made a big effort to stay focused, giving everything on every point. I needed to trust myself at all times.”

“Carlos is the type of player that makes you raise your game,” said Sinner at the time. “I’ve had tough defeats in my career, and this tops the list. It will hurt me for some time, I have to try and find the positive lessons. I know it will be tough. I have to improve and trust that next time I will get the win.”

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The next chapter in their rivalry has come quickly. In Indian Wells, they will be competing for a place in an ATP Masters 1000 final and the chance to battle it out for one of the biggest trophies of the year. It is a clear sign of the calibre of tennis the two are producing, and a prospect that Alcaraz finds enticing.

“I feel happy I’m playing against him. We’ve had great battles,” said the World No. 2 in California. “I always enjoy our matches. It’ll be a great match for the fans and also for me. I’ve tried to give 100%, Jannik is playing great and I’m going to enjoy this match.”

In the Coachella Valley, a place graced by so many legends of the game, Alcaraz is looking to stamp his authority against one of his great rivals of the future.

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Top Seeds Koolhof/Skupski Reach Indian Wells Final

  • Posted: Mar 18, 2023

Top Seeds Koolhof/Skupski Reach Indian Wells Final

Bopanna/Ebden defeat defending champs

After collecting seven team titles in 2022, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski will compete for their first crown of this season at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

On Friday, the Dutch-British duo won 22 of 31 points off their first delivery to survive Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 4-6, 10-5 in the semi-finals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Top seeds Koolhof and Skupski will compete in their first final of 2023 after earning three Masters 1000 titles last season: Madrid, Montreal, and Paris.

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Koolhof and Skupski will next meet Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden, who saved all nine break points faced to edge defending champions John Isner and Jack Sock 7-6(6), 7-6(2).

The Indian-Australian duo captured Friday’s semi-final without seeing a break point of their own and kept a high level to win two tie-breaks. Bopanna and Ebden have been enjoying a strong start to the year, including winning the ATP 500 event in Dubai and a runner-up finish in Rotterdam.

The BNP Paribas Open men’s doubles final will be held Saturday not before 5 p.m. local time.

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Bublik Cruises Into Phoenix Challenger QFs

  • Posted: Mar 18, 2023

Bublik Cruises Into Phoenix Challenger QFs

Halys downs eighth seed Ruusuvuori

Fourth seed Alexander Bublik wasted no time Friday at the Arizona Tennis Classic to advance to the quarter-finals of the Challenger 175 event.

The 25-year-old needed just 53 minutes to defeat China’s Zhang Zhizhen 6-1, 6-2. Bublik backed up his heavy first delivery with a strong return performance, capturing 14 of 19 points off Zhang’s second serve.

The Kazakh, who saved all four break points faced Friday, will next seek to avenge his previous two losses (‘18 Budapest, ‘21 St. Petersburg) to Jan-Lennard Struff when he meets the German in the Phoenix Challenger quarter-finals. The qualifier Struff also cruised Friday, downing Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-3.

ATP Challenger Tour 

In front of a packed stadium at the Phoenix Country Club, top seed Matteo Berrettini moved past Aussie qualifier Aleksandar Vukic 7-5, 7-6(5). The Italian will next face Alexander Shevchenko, who won the Tenerife Challenger-1 earlier this year. Shevchenko advanced through qualifying in Phoenix and took out Gael Monfils and Marc-Andrea Huesler to make the last eight.

Three seeded players were upset Friday, including Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who fell to American Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Kovacevic, 24, will rise into the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings should he defeat Quentin Halys tomorrow.

The Frenchman Halys scored an upset of his own by taking down World No. 59 Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Alexei Popyrin also advanced Friday when he downed seventh seed Mikael Ymer 6-2, 6-2.

Nuno Borges moved to a perfect 7-0 season record at the Challenger level by defeating Roman Safiullin. The Portuguese No. 1 backed up his highest-ranked win, which he earned Tuesday night by defeating second seed Diego Schwartzman.

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Because of rain earlier this week, Saturday’s action in Phoenix will feature quarter-final matches in the morning and the semi-finals after suitable rest.

View Schedule | View Draw | Watch Challenger TV

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Borges Booming On Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Mar 18, 2023

Borges Booming On Challenger Tour

The Portuguese No. 1 is competing at this week’s Phoenix Challenger

Following a career-best season, Nuno Borges is building momentum and enjoying a hot start to 2023 on the ATP Challenger Tour. The 26-year-old, who won last month’s Monterrey Challenger, is aiming to continue his seven-match winning streak (Challenger level) at this week’s Arizona Tennis Classic.

Yet to drop a set this season on the Challenger Tour, Borges stated that he’s just reaping the fruits of his labour.

“Every time I step on court I feel like there’s more stuff that I try not to take for granted but it’s been there because of the work I’ve put in,” Borges said. “I feel a little faster on court, decision making is getting better at this level. I can say that yes that I am more confident [this year] because in the end these players are making me more uncomfortable and anytime you go up, it keeps getting more and more challenging. Confidence is very subjective and it really is a volatile thing, comes and goes like crazy, one match can change it all.”

ATP Challenger Tour 

On Friday, the Portuguese No. 1 defeated Roman Safiullin to book his ticket to the quarter-finals of the Arizona Tennis Classic, where he will next meet Australian Alexei Popyrin. Earlier in the week, Borges made a statement by earning his highest-ranked win: upsetting second seed and World No. 38 Diego Schwartzman.

“It felt great,” Borges said. “I think I surprised myself positively with how well I mentally stayed throughout the match through the ups and downs. I problem-solved very well. I served really well and I think that made a difference because in the rallies it’s very tough against him. Played really clean overall. It wasn’t perfect but I couldn’t ask for a better match.

“I’ve been in a really good moment. Throughout these few weeks, I’ve had a couple low moments but looking back, this year has been super positive.”

Borges turned pro after graduating from Mississippi State University, where he earned a kinesiology degree in 2019. The five-time ITA All American enjoyed a 31-match collegiate winning streak that came to a halt in his final match: the 2019 NCAA singles championship (l. Jubb).

Borges’ steady progress throughout the past eight months has helped lift him to a career-high 80 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The Maia native also earned his maiden Grand Slam main-draw victory at the 2022 US Open (d. Shelton), which led to his Top 100 debut.

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Despite his recent surge, Borges isn’t getting caught up in benchmarks or lofty goals for this season. The three-time Challenger Tour titlist is choosing to continue his hard work while being grateful for what he’s already accomplished. Borges isn’t attached to a particular ranking goal for this season.

“I don’t like to put a number on it,” Borges said. “Any tournament can put a whole change in your schedule. You win the next tournament and you put yourself a step higher and at a better tournament. I try to go one tournament at a time. I’ve already hit my goal honestly.

“If I had to set a goal, maybe 75 because it’s a little higher. If I didn’t go any higher this year, I think that’d be okay because it’s part of the process. It’s not always going to be about just going up, unless you’re Novak Djokovic. I’m not saying that I’m satisfied but I also need to be proud of my progress so far and enjoy playing these big tournaments because that’s what everyone who plays tennis hopes for. I need to be happy with those numbers but also want more and keep working.”

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