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Carlos Alcaraz snaps Jannik Sinner’s 19-match winning streak in latest installment of their fierce rivalry

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — Carlos Alcaraz defeated Jannik Sinner 1-6 6-3 6-2 in the Indian Wells men’s semifinals on Saturday, snapping the Italian’s 19-match winning streak in the latest chapter of their fierce rivalry.

Sinner had enjoyed an unbeaten start to the year and his maiden grand slam at the Australian Open in January, but he succumbed to a defeat against the 20-year-old Spaniard who is fast becoming his biggest rival.

“I stayed strong mentally,” Alcaraz said afterward, according to the ATP, referencing his deficit in the opening set.

“I think that’s a really important part in this game. You have to be strong mentally if you want to overcome these kind of matches, a set down against someone that’s playing an unbelievable game. I’m really happy with the things that I’ve done after that.”

After heavy rain had delayed the start of the match, Sinner took the opening set 6-1, seeming utterly dominant, winning four consecutive games and facing just one break point.

But Alcaraz rallied in the second set, holding his first service game even as it went to deuce and used that platform to launch his comeback. Every previous clash between these two young stars has produced otherworldly rallies, and this one was no different as they scampered all over the court, playing 19 net points in the second set alone.

“Every time that I’m going to face Jannik I’m going to get nervous,” Alcaraz added, per the ATP. “That’s for sure, because I know that I have to play 100 per cent if I want to beat him … It gives me extra motivation to give my 100 per cent, just to beat him in that head-to-head.”

And Alcaraz drove home his advantage in the deciding third set, breaking Sinner at the second opportunity before winning five consecutive games to put the match beyond his opponent’s reach.

“I was too predictable at some points,” Sinner said afterwards, according to the tournament website. “I think that’s the lesson for today. We will work on certain things, and hopefully I will get better.”

Alcaraz will now face Daniil Medvedev on Sunday in the Indian Wells men’s final as he seeks to defend his title.

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