“A tennis player is used to competing in pain, but when you come back from a long injury, physical discomfort plays with your mind”

From Umag, our correspondent

[2] J. Sinner b. [1] C. Alcaraz 6-7 (5) 6-1 6-1

The undefeated run ended Carlos Alcaraz to Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. Defending champion surrenders in three sets a Jannik Sinner who, after losing the first set on a tie-break, came out of a dangerous moment of difficulty at the beginning of the second set when he saved six break points, three of which were consecutive. That was the turning point in the meeting: with Alcaraz now poised to make the leap to the finish line, Sinner’s tenacity by staying in that game began to create some cracks in the Spanish security and she was certainly a very healthy carrier of great confidence for Jannik, again good to keep the reaction back. of the opponent and to take partial with indigestible bagel virtual.

If the attempts to anticipate Sinner’s response in the first game too often turned into errors, then ours began to respond with more continuity, and the direct points for the Spaniard dropped sharply. Alcaraz always went on to play at least two more shots with his crazy recoveries, but his performance in the changeup fell in the face of the blue bounce fundamentals, hitting confidently, fast and deep, and the third set was almost a photocopy of the second, with Jannik totally dominant and master of the field.

THE FIGHT – It is the first Umag final with two top 10s and the second youngest on the Tour (after Alcaraz-Musetti last Sunday in Hamburg) since 2005, when Nadal and Berdych met in Bastad. Both have won five career titles and lost only one final: a good calling card, moreover, a mutual warning in this case. Additionally, Sinner is 7-0 this season against Spanish tennis players, while 3 of Carlos’ 6 defeats this season have come at the hands of the Azzurri. And the last confrontation between the two is the one four weeks ago, Jannik’s victory in four sets in the second round of Wimbledon.

We start with Sinner, who keeps the joke with no problem and immediately turns more aggressive in response; it’s the accelerations that tear oh of the public, largely deployed in his favor, but there is no shortage of supporters of Carlitos. Both players ask and get a lot out of the service, the sun has already set behind the west stand but the air is still quite warm and dry and the ball is traveling fast, in some exchanges the two seem to be playing down the belt.

In the seventh game, Jannik faces even 30 after a double fault and a backhand error earlier on the low ball, but he gets out of the potentially dangerous situation withes and the perfect network connection. He continues to have a very advanced position in response (the impact with the Spanish first happens just behind the bottom line) but still does not reap the hoped for results. In fact, Carlos is the first to reach “40” in the line, complicit two consecutive blue seconds from the goal, but immediately returns by putting the answer on the net after another missing first in the game. No problem for Alcaraz serving second and Jannik continues to try to break time in response when maybe he could have taken some time at least in the twelfth game to start the trade and who knows. Instead, the tie-break comes easily for the younger one.

First at 202 km/h and Carlitos’ answer, which does not slow down and is 3-1. Reacts well again, 2003 class from Murcia, and takes the point with the subdued followed by the raised lob. Sinners partially return and under 4-5 choose to move away; the other takes the opportunity to follow the serve at the net, but does not need to volley. At the next moment he gets closer to the bottom line and the tactic pays off at the last minute, but on the second set point, what seemed like two consecutive winners is not enough (first on the outside and straight ahead in the opposite corner) because Alcaraz gets there and eventually even puts in a low ball whereupon Jannik could have done better with the complicated half-sprint and so is 7-6 Spain. Too few times has Sinner succeeded in starting the exchange in reply.

The young woman next to us looks at these words and we recommend, “you don’t copy huh“. She smiles instead of closing the laptop with an angry slap like she did the other day one of the security with clear problems of uncertainty, which we will not go into here.

Carlos finds the answer straight away with disturbing ease and takes the first two points of the second game, then is objectively good for a couple of steals, but Sinner’s smash is shy and is pierced by a Spanish stone – the classic point that would excite anyone, let alone Alcaraz, who lives off these situations. 0-40 is remedied but the opposition continues to respond, fires a winner down the line on a ball so low he shouldn’t even attempt it, the long line; meanwhile, three external advantages disappear, and Sinner keeps what has the flavor of the game as a turning point place drop shot winner. As often happens after the many failed opportunities (“That match was the key to the match” Carlos will then confirm, “If you don’t convert these opportunities with players like Jannik, it will be difficult”), the break comes on time, which the 20-year-old from Sesto confirms not without difficulty, as he has to cancel two chance of the sudden return to a game whose importance is proved by some poor play by both.

However, it is the number 5 in the world who has lost the thread a little, Jannik now responds well, gives the public a space tritone that ignites the air and flies 4-1. Those six untaken break points turn into six consecutive games for Sinner, who tied the set count. A difference immediately catches the eye: in the first game, Alcaraz got 83% of points on the second bar; in the second set, on the 25th. Starting to read the report and putting the answer on the table turned out to be decisive – not that there was any doubt about it: “He started playing better and better and I haven’t found solutions anymore” Carlitos will admit.

TECHNICAL POINTS: Our coach analyzes shot by shot, photo by photo, Jannik Sinner under the magnifying glass

Carlos takes it for granted toilet break and starts again in a not very convincing way, but quickly denies the perception already in the third game, creating many headaches for Jannik, who comes out unscathed and asks for the support of the public. The level of the match is very high, the ball goes very fast but goes back deep as if nothing had happened. Sinner plays a counter-mute so perfectly that he laughs, while the two missed opportunities of Alcaraz can’t help but think about the turning point in the second faction. A correct thought due to the blue reply from the left, the snap can be heard but hardly seen, so much so that the nineteen-year-old barely manages to attempt a behind-the-back save, with the ball flying away, and it’s a break. Jannik spreads, the second is completely at his mercy, the first ones don’t hurt and come, heavy as a boulder, the second 6-1 which is worth the first trophy of the season for Jannik, the first of his career in red.

On Monday, Alcaraz rises to number 4 in the rankings to bypass Tsitsipas, certainly a great consolation, but this victory for Sinner, in the comeback by placing a twelve-to-two, weighs a lot on the weight of their rivalry.

The scoreboard for the ATP 250 in Umag

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