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Sinner still rolling, Alcaraz and Shelton also win in Indian Wells

Is Jannik Sinner literally unbeatable right now? Maybe, maybe not.

But one thing is for sure: Sinner remains undefeated in 2024 for the time being. The third-ranked Italian improved to 13-0 this season by beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-0 in round two of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday afternoon.

“I felt like it was a bit breezy today, so it was tough to play–especially in the beginning, because for me it’s my first match here,” Sinner explained. “I think I can be very happy. He’s a great opponent; a great player. He serves really, really big.”

Sinner is in line to face two more big servers prior to the quarterfinals: Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round and potentially Ben Shelton in the fourth. Struff outlasted Borna Coric 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(9), saving three match points in the process. Shelton overcame fellow rising star Jakub Mensik 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The 21-year-old American fired eight aces and blasted one serve at 150 miles per hour.

“I had to dig deep tonight,” the 16th-ranked American commented. “He’s an offensive player–a guy with a big game. I just had to amp up my aggression a little bit. I felt like I let him take it to me a little bit in the first set. Once I got deep in the second set I started finding some winners with my forehand and playing a little bit more aggressive.”

Carlos Alcaraz also advanced on Friday night, when he recovered from a difficult opening set to beat Matteo Arnaldi 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-1. Alcaraz, playing his first official match since a retirement in Rio de Janeiro, prevailed after two hours and 14 minutes.

“I had to change just a few things,” the 20-year-old noted. “I made a few mistakes in the first set…. I had to put in more first serves in the second and third set, and I think that was a big key to improving my level a little bit, to be in the rallies–long rallies, as well, to get the rhythm. I’m really happy to get it at the end.”

Alcaraz will go up against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday at the Indian Wells Masters.

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