For the second time in a month, Jannik Sinner beats Carlos Alcaraz. With that he took over the Croatia-Open title in Umag from Alcaraz who was holding the trophy last year. Last month, Sinner also defeated Alcaraz on the grass at Wimbledon and then reached the quarterfinals in which he managed to win two sets against Djokovic. It was somewhat surprising that Sinner was also the boss on the gravel of Umag against Alcaraz. Alcaraz can handle any surface, but as a born Spaniard, gravel as a surface has an advantage you would say. In the first set the battle was even, and a tie-break had to bring the decision. Alcaraz eventually managed to get it 7-5.
Then Sinner took matters into his own hands and a break soon occurred. Alcaraz made too many unnecessary mistakes and strangely went along in the hard swings with Sinner. He tried to put pressure on the Italian, but too often the balls flew just over the line. Still, the Spaniard persisted in his game plan and actually played into Sinner’s hands. Hard and flat hits are fine as far as it concerns Sinner. It is not for nothing that he did win two sets against Djokovic at Wimbledon. You’d expect Alcaraz to switch to plan B and throw open the box of gravel tricks. But instead of alternating high spin and slice balls mixed up with hard topspin hits and drop shots, he basically continued to follow Sinner’s “grass game”, who was fine with that. Earlier this week, Sinner regularly played service volley – clay or no clay – and did so with some regularity in the final. All in all, it led to one break after another for the Italian who took the second and third set with twice 6-1 and received the trophy and winner’s check.
It also shows the great sporting mentality of Carlos Alcaraz that he was soon able to put the disappointment of the loss behind him. He spook kind words for his opponent, the tournament organization including ball children, referees and linesmen, the spectators and his team and family members. Nothing was too much for him to please his fans, he signed autographs, took photos with them, including a group photo with the linesmen and walked around the court with a big smile on his face. Incidentally, despite his loss, Alcaraz has already climbed up the rankings to fourth place. And that while he arrived last year as the number 78 in the world in Umag and won his first ATP title here.
But let’s not underestimate Jannik Sinner’s achievements either. The only 20-year-old number 10 in the world played a very solid match and seems to be well on his way to becoming Alcaraz’s ‘Angstgegner’. He was presented with the prize from the Croatian Minister of Sport and he can be credited more than € 80,000 for his great tennis week. In his speech and word of thanks, he was certainly no less friendly to everyone involved and those present than Alcaraz. He had such kind words, especially for the very sympathetic tournament director Tomislav Poljak, that Poljak was visibly affected and could barely hold back his tears. Together with Alcaraz, he provided the final that everyone had hoped for, although the difference in power in the last sets was greater than hoped. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that Sinner and Alcaraz are pearls for tennis and have given the tournament of Umag a great shine as true role models for the youth. We can hardly wait for the 33rd edition!