10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s preview and pick for the Beijing semifinals: Alcaraz vs. Sinner

Ask for more Carlos Alcaraz vs. Jannik Sinner matches and you shall receive.

It took a while, but one of the most entertaining rivalries on tour will finally add another chapter when Alcaraz and Sinner collide in the China Open semifinals on Tuesday night. It will be their first meeting since consecutive encounters at the two spring Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

They split those two hard-court showdowns, so their head-to-head series on the main tour remains tied–now at three victories apiece. Their most memorable battle to date (and it will be difficult to ever top) has come at the 2022 U.S. Open, where Alcaraz saved a match point and prevailed 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on the way to his first major title.

Alcaraz certainly heads into Tuesday’s contest as the favorite given that he is the top seed in Beijing and has been dominant through three rounds. The Spaniard punched his ticket to the last four by erasing Yannick Hanfmann, Lorenzo Musetti, and Casper Ruud all in straight sets.

Sinner was less than 100 percent from a health standpoint on Monday but managed to scrape through a three-setter against Grigor Dimitrov. The seventh-ranked Italian also needed three sets to get past Dan Evans in round one before destroying Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-0.

Despite being the underdog, I think Sinner has a decent chance in this one–provided, of course, that he is 100 percent physically. He would probably be in trouble in a best-of-five situation, but since he can see the finish line in a best-of-three set match it could be a much different and more manageable scenario. I’m leaning toward Sinner for the upset, sending Alcaraz on his way to even more important tournaments in Shanghai, Paris, and London as he tries to track down Novak Djokovic for the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Pick: Sinner in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.