Sinner salutes in first title as world number one

ITALIAN young gun Jannik Sinner did not let the pressure of being the newly crowned world number one get to him as the top seed claimed the ATP 500 title in Halle overnight. The Australian Open champion showed he is just as impressive on grass, having to fight past a determined Hubert Hurkacz to win in two tiebreakers.

Sinner won the first tiebreaker in a nail-biter 10-8. before doing it a little easier in the second 7-2, but still was forced to get to that stage with the top-ranked Pole in fantastic form. The former Wimbledon semi-finalist served 13 aces to Sinner’s 10 and won a massive 79 per cent of his first serve points off a 74 per cent clip, denying the Italian many chances at breaking.

In fact, from his three break point opportunities, Sinner was unable to capitalise on any thanks to Hurkacz’s staunch defence from his powerful serving, though the Pole was unable to break Sinner either, with just the one break point chance and that was saved.

For Sinner, to be able to salute in his first tournament as world number one was something special, becoming just the eighth person since rankings began 51 years ago to achieve the feat.

”It means a lot. It was a tough match against Hubi,” Sinner said post-match. “I knew I had to serve really well and you play only a couple of really important points throughout the whole set. So I was happy and I tried to produce in the best possible way in the important moments. I’m very happy about this tournament because [winning for] the first time on grass court, it’s a good feeling.”

The pair had shared the court in the doubles portion of the grasscourt tournament, reaching the second round, though they showed they were going to go the distance in the singles, with Sinner’s ability to win crunch moments ultimately the difference between the pair.

”In the important moments, he served a couple of second serves in the tie-break, which then could make the difference,” Sinner said. “I guess that was the key today.”

It took Sinner an hour and 50 minutes to take out the match, winning 85 per cent of his overall service points, and in winning, earned his first ever grasscourt title. The world number one will now set his sights on Wimbledon, where he reached a semi-final last season.


American Tommy Paul also collected an ATP 500 trophy overnight, defeating Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the Cinch Championships final at the Queen’s Club in London. In a perfect warm-up to Wimbledon, the fifth seed and world number 13 took out the game after trouncing the Italian in the first set 6-1, and then bouncing back from failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set to win 10-8 in a tiebreaker for a 6-1 7-6 victory.

Paul faced a set point in that second set tiebreaker and was down a break earlier, but managed to dig deep and outlast the 30th ranked Italian to clinch his third ATP Tour title. Paul said he was glad to take the win and said Musetti had improved his grasscourt game to be a real threat on the surface.

“Watching him play on grass the past two or three years has been really cool. I think everyone kind of thought of him as a clay-court player, and he’s kind of proven everyone wrong,” Paul said post-match. “He’s obviously a force on the grass courts and is comfortable on it and plays very, very well on it. It was really cool to finally play each other, and to play each other in the final of a tournament like this was amazing.” 

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments