Carlos Alcaraz vs. Jannik Sinner
“Every day that I pass, I feel more ready, let’s say, on grass.”
Alcaraz is not just a top tennis player; he can make his answers rhyme in press conferences, too.
He’s also correct in his assessment. The 19-year-old Spaniard has proven to be an exceedingly quick study on a fairly foreign surface. Alcaraz took five sets to beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, but he hasn’t dropped one since. On Friday he made quick work of grass-court specialist Oscar Otte.
What has he learned along the way?
“On grass you have to play aggressive, you have to go to the net, you have to try to play more aggressive than the opponent,” Alcaraz says. “That’s my idea that I try in every match, to don’t let the opponent dominate the game, dominate the match.”
Now that he’s in the second week, that task won’t be as easy. Alcaraz’s opponent, Sinner, is one of the tour’s hardest hitters on a normal day, and he seems to be especially dialed in at the moment. The Italian dropped a set against Stan Wawrinka and Mikael Ymer, but he didn’t have much trouble breaking John Isner in a straight-set win two days ago.
Alcaraz won his only prior meeting with Sinner, in two close sets on indoor hard courts in Bercy last fall. Sinner may have the advantage in the serving department, and the raw power department, but grass isn’t just about aggression. The surface also rewards speed and athleticism, which means it should keep rewarding Alcaraz a little more each day. Winner: Alcaraz