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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday March 19, 2023

When Carlos Alcaraz met Daniil Medvedev nearly two years ago at Wimbledon, he was ranked 75 in the world and had very little experience on the slick grass.

Tennis Express

Medvedev, meanwhile, was ranked No.2 in the world and well-versed on the grass – he was making his fourth main draw appearance at SW19 and coming off a title at Mallorca on the surface earlier that summer.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Medvedev won easily, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. 20 months later ahead of their second career meeting in Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final, Alcaraz and Medvedev both agree: you can throw away that result because it doesn’t reflect the current status of each player.

“If I'm not wrong, when I played against him he was No. 2 in the world,” Alcaraz said on Saturday. “I just started to play on the tour, so I was not experienced player. For me, was a strange match.”

The 19-year-old says he is far more experienced now, even if he doesn’t quite consider himself to be at his peak.

“Right now is totally different,” he said. “I'm and experienced guy, or at least I'm more experienced [than I was in] that match. I know how to play against him. I practice with him a few times so it is not a new thing for me right now. So it's gonna be, I think, a totally different match.”

Medvedev feels the same way.

“ would say our match for sure it counts in head to head and it has to count,” the Russian said. “That's how tennis works. I also have my matches which I lost when I was not at the top, but he was definitely not the same player as he is right now. So in a way, it's going to be like a first match between us in terms of how we gonna go tactically or physically or tennis-wise.”

Medvedev and Alcaraz both had good things to say about each other ahead of Sunday’s final clash in the California desert.

“He has amazing skills which are tough to compare to everyone, I would think maybe to Rafa, but it's tough to compare because Rafa is lefty, so you cannot really compare their ball,” he said. “Once he hits through the forehand, it's amazing to watch. I don't think there is anyone who can hit this strong and also with topspin.

“That's why he was No. 1 in the world, youngest No. 1 in the history.”

Alcaraz praised Medvedev’s unorthodox yet effective brand of tennis as well on Saturday.

“He's a wall,” He return every ball, impossible shots. I talk with my team that the returns are almost, you know, in the corner of the court and still winning the points.
He's an amazing runner, he's an amazing player. I [will probably [have to] hit my best shots to hit winners against him.”