As far as box-office matchups go, it doesn’t get much better than Daniil Medvedev versus Carlos Alcaraz in the BNP Paribas Open final. These are two of the best players on the planet, and they couldn’t possibly be meeting at a better time.

Medvedev came into this event after having won three titles in as many weeks, and he’ll now look to make the ultimate statement by beating one of the top players in the world on one of the biggest stages in the sport. There are some great narratives at play coming into this match. The problem is that there might be a little too much leaning in Alcaraz’s favor at this event.

It shouldn’t be surprising when Medvedev reaches a final considering the way he’s playing, but there were reasons to doubt him at Indian Wells. This tournament plays a lot like a clay-court event, and clay is Medvedev’s worse surface by a significant margin. The Russian has openly criticized the court conditions this week. That makes it even more impressive that he is in the final, especially with his last three wins coming against tough opponents in Alexander Zverev, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Frances Tiafoe. It does, however, seem like this is when Medvedev’s luck will run out.


Match Point Predictor Miami: The numbers don't lie

Match Point Predictor Miami: The numbers don't lie

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Alcaraz’s only concern heading into this tournament was his health, but the 2022 US Open champion looks as good as ever. And his 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Jannik Sinner in the semifinals was proof that he is back at 100 percent. Sinner is one of the few players in the world that has given Alcaraz trouble in the past, but the Spaniard never looked like he was in danger of letting that match slip away.

The reason to love Alcaraz in this match is that these conditions are just perfect for his game. The Spaniard rarely needs extra time to track down balls, but the slower courts make it nearly impossible to get anything by him. And while Medvedev’s strength is extending rallies and grinding out wins, there’s nobody on the planet that can do that quite as well as Alcaraz. Also, while Medvedev is great at using his length to get into his opponent’s serve, Alcaraz happens to be a bit stronger as a returner.

The only thing to worry about with Alcaraz here is his serve. That’s one of the final pieces of the puzzle for the 19-year-old. His 83.9% hold percentage happens to be a number that some of his peers would kill for, but Alcaraz is looking to get that number up into the high 80’s at some point. And with his work ethic and power, it’s only a matter of time before he gets there.

Line Call: Alcaraz To Win (-115)