INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Daniil Medvedev defeated Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6 (4) on Saturday for his 19th consecutive match victory of the year and a berth in the BNP Paribas Open final.
Medvedev will play for the title Sunday against top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Alcaraz needs to win the title Sunday to regain the No. 1 ranking in the world from Novak Djokovic. The Serb, a five-time champion in Indian Wells, withdrew before the tournament began after he wasn’t allowed to enter the U.S. because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Medvedev, the fifth seed, continued his domination of Tiafoe, winning all five of their career meetings, including 12 of 13 sets in the process.
“In general, I played at a really great level, but if I didn’t win this match, I would have nightmares for a long time with all the opportunities I had,” Medvedev said in an on-court TV interview after the match. “Like six or seven match points and two times [I was] serving for the match. But I am happy to win. Now I can sleep well tonight and prepare for tomorrow.”
Medvedev’s winning streak dates to his title run in Rotterdam in February. He then won tournaments in Doha and Dubai. Now, the 2021 US Open champion and former world No. 1 is in position to add another title.
Medvedev has proved resilient during the 12-day tournament in the Southern California desert. He overcame a badly twisted ankle and a cut thumb in two straight matches to power through to the final.
Alcaraz has played Medvedev only once, in the second round at Wimbledon in 2021. Medvedev won in three sets. Alcaraz said his biggest concern facing the 6-foot-6 Medvedev is his height.
“He is really, really tall, you know,” said Alcaraz, who is 6-foot. “What can I say? I think he has just lost one match this year. He has a great string of wins and it will be a really difficult challenge for me to play against him tomorrow. I’m going to enjoy the final and let’s see what happens.”
Last year, Alcaraz won the Miami Open and the U.S. Open. On Sunday, he can win the third of the three big U.S. tournaments. After winning his first Grand Slam title in New York, the 19-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest men’s No. 1 in history. He relinquished the No. 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic in January.
Alcaraz won Saturday on the strength of his first serves (he made 72% of them, compared to 50% for Sinner), creative play and his ability to move Sinner around the court and take control the game’s pace from his opponent.
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the women’s doubles title with a 6-1, 6-7 (3), 10-7 victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and Laura Siegemund of Germany.
The Czech duo improved to 11-0 this year, having won the Australian Open championship in January. They split $436,730 in prize money.
ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.