INDIAN WELLS: Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev won’t be distracted by streaks, stats or even the lure of World No. 1 when they clash for the Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000 crown on Sunday.
Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard who became the youngest number one ever after his triumph at the US Open last year, can supplant Novak Djokovic and return to the summit with a third Masters 1000 title.
Medvedev, meanwhile, is riding a 19-match ATP win streak that saw him win three titles in three weeks at Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
Now that he’s in the title match in a two-week event, Medvedev is the first player since Andy Murray in 2016 to reach four finals in five weeks.
For both, a first Indian Wells title is the goal that concerns them.
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“I know if I win tomorrow I’m going to become the number one,” Alcaraz said. “I will try not to think about that, just to think about the things that I have to do.
“I have to make everything perfect. That’s all I’m going to think about tomorrow.”
Similarly, Medvedev won’t be focused on any historical aspect of his streak – only on extending it.
“When you do well and then you hear some of these stats, it’s just great, but at the same time I know that it comes with wins,” he said.
“The most important is to try to win this tournament and to win these matches.”
Medvedev got past a late match speed bump in a 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) semi-final win over Frances Tiafoe, needing eight match points to put the 16th-ranked American away.
Alcaraz won a tense first set then cruised in a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over Italian Jannik Sinner.
Both Medvedev and Alcaraz said their only prior meeting – Medvedev’s 2021 second-round victory at Wimbledon – was no gauge for this final.
“He was definitely not the same player as he is right now,” Medvedev said. “So in a way it’s going to be like a first match between us in terms of how we’re going to go tactically or physically or tennis-wise.
“It’s going to be great fun to play against him.”
Added Alcaraz: “If I’m not wrong, when I played against him he was number two in the world, I just started to play on the tour.
“Right now it’s totally different. It’s going to be, I think, a totally different match.”