Sinner beat Alcaraz again to take Croatia Open title

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Jannik Sinner scored his second big win over Carlos Alcaraz in July as he toppled the Spanish teenager in Sunday's Croatia Open final.

The 20-year-old Italian won his sixth career title on the ATP Tour and the first not on a hard court, beating Alcaraz 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-1 on clay at the Goran Ivanisevic Stadion in Umag.

Victory improved Sinner's win-loss record against Spanish players in 2022 to 8-0, and gave him a first trophy of the year. It was Alcaraz's 100th match of his career at ATP level but did not go according to his plan.

A victorious Sinner told Tennis TV: "I am obviously very happy. I come from a tough year until now. We had some unfortunate moments, but we worked every time to play better, to be a better player, to be a better person. So, I'm very happy to be finally lifting a trophy this year, but I know that I still have a lot of things to improve."

Alcaraz, who lost to Sinner's compatriot Lorenzo Musetti in last week's Hamburg European Open final, had six break points in the second game of the second set but failed to break through and fell away.

Sinner said: "He made some unforced errors, and I was very happy that I won this game. Then I returned well and raised my level a little bit, and I think I found a solution then."

Alcaraz was attempting to become the first player since Carlos Moya (2001-03) to win this title in consecutive years but fell short. He said he would have to "keep working hard to win tournaments" and hailed Sinner's "amazing level" over the week.

The 19-year-old will rise into the ATP top four for the first time on Monday but will be wary of Sinner currently having a hold over him.

Their Wimbledon match on July 3 went Sinner's way in four sets.

Small consolation for Alcaraz may have come in the fact he won a set, meaning he has done so in all 49 matches he has played this year, last losing in straight sets when he went down to Hugo Gaston at the Paris Masters last year.

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