Published: 12:49, March 22, 2024 | Updated: 12:56, March 22, 2024
Sinner looks for fresh start in Miami after first loss
By Reuters

Jannik Sinner, of Italy, returns a shot against Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, during a semifinal match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, March 16, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

MIAMI - For the first time this season Jannik Sinner comes into a tournament looking for a fresh start.

The Miami Open represents a new opportunity, the Italian said on Wednesday, as he looks to get back to winning ways after a 1-6 6-3 6-2 semi-final loss to his great rival Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells.

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A reset is not something Sinner has had to do this campaign, after rocketing out of the gate with a 16-match winning streak that included a first grand slam title at the Australian Open.

"New week, new opportunities let's see what's coming," said Sinner at his pre-tournament press conference. "It is just a match that I lost, first there is nothing I can do about it.

As a 19-year-old in 2021, Sinner became the first Italian finalist in tournament history, before reaching the final again in 2023

"Secondly, every tournament you go to is a new opportunity and here is a new opportunity for me again to show some good tennis.

"I knew that the point (a first loss) was going to come.

"I'm happy that it came in a quite late stage of a tournament, that means quite a lot to me, semi-final in Masters 1000 event is still a great result so let's see what's coming."

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Past results would indicate Miami is the perfect place to get back on track.

As a 19-year-old in 2021, Sinner became the first Italian finalist in tournament history, before reaching the final again in 2023.

Seeded second for the first time at a Masters event and with Alcaraz on the other side of the draw as the top seed, a buzz is already building around the possibility of Sinner and Alcaraz rematch.

After a first-round bye, Sinner will open his account against fellow Italian Andrea Vavassori while two times Grand Slam champion Alcaraz, looking to become the first man since Roger Federer in 2017 to complete the "Sunshine Double" after winning at Indian Wells, will face Aleksandar Vukic or Roberto Carballes Baena.

Alcaraz (20) and Sinner (22) are the youngest pair of top seeds at a Masters 1000 tournament since Rafa Nadal (19) and Andy Roddick (23) at Madrid in 2005, but their rivalry is already seen as having the potential to become one of the sport's most entertaining.

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Both men possess immense talent and skill but it is their very different temperaments that elevate the rivalry -- the icy cool Italian and the fiery Spaniard giving off a Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe vibe.

"I enjoy it (the rivalry) and hopefully it has just started he's an incredible player," said Sinner. "Off the court we don't speak that much because he has his own things and I have mine.

"He has a lot of emotions he shows a really good fighting spirit.

"I am not showing so many emotions on the court but it works as well on my side. Very happy always when I face him."