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Alcaraz, Medvedev focus on first Indian Wells title chance

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.

“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.”

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