Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev will not be distracted by stripes, statistics or the glamor of the World No. 1 when they clash for the Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000 title on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz, who became the youngest ever world number one following his win at the US Open last year, can topple Novak Djokovic and return to the summit with a third Masters 1000 title.
Meanwhile, Medvedev is on a 19-match ATP win streak that has seen him win three titles in three weeks at Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
Now that he is in contention for the title in the two-week tournament, Medvedev is the first player since Andy Murray in 2016 to reach four finals in five weeks.
For both, a maiden Indian Wells title is their goal.
“I know if I win tomorrow I’m going to be number one,” Alcaraz said. “I try not to think about him, just the things I have to do.
“I have to do everything right. That’s all I’ll think about tomorrow.”
Similarly, Medvedev will not focus on any historical aspect of his streak – only on extending it.
“When you do well and then you hear some of these stats, it’s great, but at the same time I know it comes with winning,” he said. “The most important thing is to try and win this tournament and win these matches.”
Medvedev overcame a late match speed bump over Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) in the semi-finals, needing eight match points to put away the 16th-ranked American.
Alcaraz pulled off a tense first set win and then a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over Italian Jannik Sinner.
Both Medvedev and Alcaraz said their only prior meeting – Medvedev’s 2021 second-round win at Wimbledon – was no gauge for this final.
Medvedev said, “He certainly wasn’t the player he is now.” “So in a way it’s going to be like the first match between us how we’re going to go tactically or physically or tennis-wise.
It’s going to be a lot of fun playing against him.”
Added Alcaraz: “If I’m not mistaken, when I played against him he was number two in the world, I’ve just started playing on tour.
“Right now it’s completely different. It’s going to be, I think, a completely different match.”