Jannik Sinner ended Taylor Fritz’s Indian Wells title defense topping the American No. 1 in a tight one 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
“It means a lot, obviously,” Sinner said on court. “Playing against Taylor is never easy. Especially because he won here last year. I knew the match was going to be tough.
“We both play quite similar. For both of us the service games were very important, then the wind came a little bit. It was tough, I changed the little bit the position of the return, and obviously I’m very happy with how I ended the match.”
After a poor game to drop the second, Sinner broke immediately to start the third however things got right back to level. But Sinner, who dominated the longer points, got the better of Fritz down the stretch, breaking at 4-all and then serving it out. The wind was a big factor late in the match with the playing serving into it at a disadvantage.
Sinner added five aces, won 46/57 (81%) first serve points and broke serve three times in the match.
“I’d say the two games that I got broken in the third, I just didn’t really feel like I could do much in the points,” Fritz said after. “I had to just kind of like hope that he’d get a miss, just because of how strong the wind was in my face.
“I thought when I was against the wind doing that and I couldn’t really hurt him, he was doing a really good job on the side with the wind of just attacking me and not giving me free points.”
Sinner improves to just 3-17 against Top 5 players after his first win over Fritz. The Italian also advances his 15th career semifinal. His 2nd at the Masters level, and 1st at the Indian Wells Masters.
In the evening, top seed Carlos Alcaraz returned to the Indian Wells semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Felix Auger-Aliassime. It was the Spaniard’s first win in four tries over the Auger-Aliassime who he had never broken until tonight.
Alcaraz with his speed and touch grabbed the first break of the match in the middle of the first then got a quick one to start the second. But the Canadian was able to get it back, however Alcaraz’s power was too relentless. Auger-Aliassime struggled winning just 42% of second serves.
“This is the first time I broke his serve and I’m really proud of that,” said Alcaraz who was 0-for-11 on break chances against Auger-Aliassime coming in. “I tried to attack the second serve, tried to dominate the points, tried to play from the baseline and tried to be aggressive, taking the opportunity when he is serving the second serve.”
Alcaraz is now two wins from returning to No. 1. This is his first hard court event of the year.
“Today, the goal was to stay there,” Alcaraz said told the ATP. “I knew that I was going to have my chances. Try to take it. Probably I played one of my best matches this season, in 2023. I’m really happy.”
Alcaraz makes his 16th career semifinal. His 4th at the Masters level, and 2nd at the Indian Wells Masters.
Alcaraz and Sinner have split their four meetings. In their last meeting, they played the match of 2022 at the US Open.
“I’m really happy to play against him again. Great battles,” Alcaraz said of Sinner. “I enjoy the matches against him. I would say it’s going to be a really good match, for the fans as well, to watch that match. And for myself as well. I will try to show my best, to show my 100%. Jannik is playing great. I’m going to enjoy that match.”
Both semifinals will be played early on Saturday. Daniil Medvedev and Frances Tiafoe will enjoy two days off. And with Fritz eliminated, someone will win their first Indian Wells title.
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