The clash between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner was the dream final which could well be reflecting the future of the game when the current dominant players reach their inevitable career ends.
I knew I had to stay there. He made some unforced errors, and I was very happy that I won this game. Then I returned well and raised my level a little bit, and I think I found a solution then Yannik Sinner
It was the third meeting between the pair with Sinner now edging ahead 2-1 after getting the better of the Spanish teenage prodigy 6-7(5) 6-1 6-1 to claim the Playa Laguna Croatia Open title and in the process, depose the defending Umag champion.
“I am obviously very happy,” said Sinner after the match following his first title of the season. “I have a tough year until now, I had some unfortunate moments, but we worked every time to play better, to be a better player, to be a better person. So, I’m very happy to be finally lifting a trophy this year, but I know that I still have a lot of things to improve… It’s all about the process.”
The eventual result was certainly surprising as Alcaraz looked set to sweep through the final after claiming a hard fought first set on the tie break, but his game fell apart from that point.
Alcaraz held three points to go up 2-0 in the second only for the 20-year-old Italian to hold and grasp control of the proceedings to run off with the match winning 12 of the next 13 games for his first clay court title.
“That was a crucial point,” said Sinner on holding his serve in the second set. “I knew I had to stay there. He made some unforced errors, and I was very happy that I won this game. Then I returned well and raised my level a little bit, and I think I found a solution then.”
For Alcaraz it was his second successive loss in a final having been beaten last Sunday by another Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the Hamburg final to bring to an end his record of not being beaten in his five previous title matches.
Sinner has now beaten the 19-year-old twice in the space of four weeks having triumphed over him at Wimbledon before pulling ahead on Sunday to improve his tally of titles to six, one more than his rival.
In ranking terms Alcaraz’s run sees him leapfrog Stefanos Tsitsipas into fourth place while Sinner remains in tenth.