Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner share unique achievement vs. Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz has lost a Masters 1000 set 6-1 only three times

by Jovica Ilic
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Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner share unique achievement vs. Carlos Alcaraz
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

With five titles by his name at 20, Carlos Alcaraz is already one of the most prominent Masters 1000 players! The young Spaniard has had a great run at the premium ATP events, winning 53 out of 69 matches and lifting five trophies from six finals, including the most recent one in Indian Wells.

Carlos took down the ATP Race leader Jannik Sinner in the semi-final despite losing the opening set 6-1, raising his level in the second and sailing over the top. Thus, Sinner became the second player to clinch a dominant 6-1 set against Alcaraz at a Masters 1000 level, joining Rafael Nadal on the exclusive list.

Nadal achieved that at their home Masters 1000 event in Madrid in 2021 and 2022, beating his young compatriot in the first duel before losing the second despite a dominant performance in set number two.

Rafael Nadal & Carlos Alcaraz, Madrid 2022© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafa and Carlos met on the young gun's 18th birthday in Madrid 2021, and the more experienced Spaniard clinched a 6-1, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 16 minutes.

Alcaraz became the youngest player to win a match in Madrid against Adrian Mannarino, breaking his idol's record and facing him in the second round! Carlos experienced a stomach muscle injury in the opening games, struggling and finishing the duel with three games on his tally.

An 18-year-old made a reliable start, landing three deep returns in the first game of the clash and earning a break chance. Alcaraz wasted it after a forehand error, allowing Nadal to wrap up the game with a service winner and avoid an early setback.

Rafa caused Carlos' mistake in the second game, delivering an early break and moving in front. The youngster injured a stomach muscle while chasing a ball in the third game, asking for a medical timeout and falling 3-0 behind after Nadal's volley winner.

Rafael Nadal & Carlos Alcaraz, Madrid 2021© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafa pushed strong on the return in the fourth game, creating three break chances and forcing Carlos' mistake for a break at love and a 4-0 lead after 24 minutes.

Firing from all cylinders, Nadal landed a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game, holding at love and extending the advantage. Alcaraz served to stay in the set at 0-5, hoping to avoid a bagel. The young gun produced a hold, reducing the deficit and extending the set before Rafa earned three set points on serve in the next one with a forehand down the line winner.

Nadal clinched the first after an unreturned serve, wrapping up the opener 6-1 in 36 minutes. Tables turned a year later, with two rivals meeting in the quarter-final at Caja Magica. Nadal provided another 6-1 set against Alcaraz, but it was insufficient to emerge at the top.

The young gun scored a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 triumph in two hours and 28 minutes, becoming the youngest player with a win over Nadal on clay!

Carlos Alcaraz lost a set 6-1 at a Masters 1000 level only three times.

Carlos suffered an injury in the second set, losing it 6-1 while preserving energy for the decider, which proved a proper tactic.

The 19-year-old lost serve three times and converted four out of five break chances, enough to seal the deal and move into the semi-final. Nadal lost serve three times in the opener, falling 6-2 behind before bouncing back in the second.

The older Spaniard held after deuces at the start of the set and earned three break chances in game two. Carlos denied them with winners and produced a vital hold for 1-1. Alcaraz hurt his ankle in the last point of the third game while chasing Nadal's forehand, requiring a medical timeout just like a year ago.

A teenager missed a forehand in the fourth game, suffering a break at love and falling 3-1 behind. Rafa held at 15 in game five with a service winner and broke his rival at 15 in the next one after Carlos' volley mistake at the net.

Carlos Alcaraz & Jannik Sinner, Indian Wells 2024© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Nadal held at love at 5-1 with a service winner, wrapping up the set and forcing a decider. Alcaraz recovered ahead of the decider, serving well and breaking Nadal in game four.

The young gun served for the win at 5-3, cracking a forehand down the line winner and booking a place in the semi-final. Alcaraz won the title despite losing one set 6-1, and he repeated that in Indian Wells last week. The Spaniard ousted the Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-final, overcoming a terrible start and overpowering world no.

3 in sets two and three. Alcaraz lost serve two times in the opener and responded with four breaks in sets two and three, enough to control the scoreboard and move into the final. Sinner lost the ground after a reliable start, spraying too many mistakes and losing ground in the mid-range exchanges.

Everything worked well for the Italian in the opener, claiming it in 36 minutes and moving closer to his 20th consecutive victory. Jannik grabbed the first game with an ace and reached deuce on the return in the next one after Carlos' double fault.

The Spaniard held before the Italian landed service winners in game three for a hold at love and a 2-1 lead. The rain halted the action, and two rivals continued three hours later. Alcaraz lost the rhythm, spraying a backhand error and facing two break points in the fourth game.

Carlos hit a double fault on the first, losing serve and propelling Jannik in front.

Carlos Alcaraz & Jannik Sinner, Indian Wells 2024© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Spaniard earned a break point in the fifth game and wasted it after a loose forehand.

The Italian closed the game with a backhand crosscourt winner, opening a 4-1 lead and moving closer to the opener. Sinner pushed strong on the return in game six, landing a forehand drive-volley winner for break points and painting a forehand winner on the first to open a 5-1 advantage and serve for the opener.

The Italian created set points with a booming serve and seized the second after the Spaniard's forehand error, sealing the opener 6-1 and becoming the second player to achieve that.

Rafael Nadal Jannik Sinner Carlos Alcaraz
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