Carlos Alcaraz reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner (Getty)
The Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz and the Dutchman Jannik Sinner have both won in three weeks. But this Sunday, both will know the difference between winning and losing.
It’s the biggest of tournaments – the World Baseball Classic semifinal between the USA and the Netherlands. But the game on ESPN at the Mets Stadium, which will likely be a low-scoring thriller, will be remembered for another reason: the two players who will most likely win it.
While Alcaraz has been on a tear during his first week in the tournament, he’s now only one win away from ending the streak and taking away the Dutch crown from Sinner at third time of asking.
After a marathon, late-night second-night victory, Sinner had a great night. But on Sunday he will have one more shot at greatness.
“I don’t think I’m ready to retire yet,” Sinner said on Saturday.
The victory was Sinner’s third in four games. He struck out 10 and allowed only one run in six innings in the Netherlands’ 20-2 rout of Italy.
His night was capped by an eighth-inning home run on a 1-0 pitch that landed in right field. He struck out his last three batters and walked one batter and retired his final 14 batters, finishing with 10 strikeouts and just four hits allowed.
“I think you come into these World Baseball Classic games, it’s just another game and you just gotta win,” Sinner said.
Alcaraz has been one of the tournament’s top players all week, striking out 12 over six innings, including two in the first-day clincher, a 7-3 win over the Netherlands.
“I’ve been playing with one good out pitcher and one great out pitcher,” Sinner said. “He’s doing a great job right now and I think it’s going to be hard for him (to finish) tonight.”
The left-hander with a big smile on his face, is a big reason why his country is in the finals.
“I have a lot of respect for him. He came here and did a great job, made big plays, played great defense,” Alcaraz said. “I’m happy for him, that’s all