Sinner the winner after toppling Thanasi

ITALIAN Jannik Sinner received the best possible 21st birthday present by overcoming a dogged Thanasi Kokkinakis in a thrilling three-set blockbuster. The players spent a whopping three hours and 15 minutes on court, with the 10th seed eventually overcoming the qualifier, 6-7 6-4 7-6 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open ATP 1000 event in Cincinnati overnight.

Sinner had to come back from a disappointing first set loss that saw a massive 89 points played, and Kokkinakis winning 46 of them, including the last two to win 11-9 in an epic first set tiebreak. After neither player broke in the opening set, the Italian broke twice with Australian achieving the feat once, and Sinner levelling the match with a successful 6-4 second set.

The third and deciding set went down to the wire yet again, as both players were unwilling to give an inch to the opposition, saving a combined six break points and dominating their service breaks. In the end it went down to a tiebreaker yet again, with Sinner getting up 8-6 in the decider for an overall 6-7 6-4 7-6 victory to advance through to the Round of 32.

The Italian said he had no issues having to work hard on his milestone birthday considering the end result of the clash.

“I love to play tennis and doing the thing that you love on your birthday is the best thing you can do,” Sinner said post-match. “Obviously today was a happy ending, so I’m very happy about that.”

Hitting 43 winners to 35, Sinner was able to withstand Kokkinakis’ barrage of aces as the Australian put down 13 of them to the Italian’s six. Both players were hard to break, with Sinner recording a 77 and 63 per cent success rate off his first and second serve, marginally nudging out Kokkinakis’ 74 and 56 per cent.

“In the beginning I was not playing so well or feeling the ball so well,” Sinner said. “I tried to be a little bit more aggressive, which I had to do because Thanasi is a very attacking player. Let’s take the positives out of this match, and hopefully in the next round I can play also at a higher level.”

Eyeing off a second title in 2022, Sinner is coming off some great form having won in Umag, and is now at 37-10 for the season, sitting in 15th for the ATP Tour Race and 12th in the world rankings. Sinner will take on Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who knocked off Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in a come-from-behind win, 1-6 7-5 7-6. Fellow Italian Fabio Fognini joined Sinner in the second round, overcoming another Spaniard in Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets, 6-2 6-3.

Though Kokkinakis went down, it was much better news for his Australian compatriots, with Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios both advancing through to the Round of 32. Kyrgios will take on American Taylor Fritz who completely destroyed Sebastian Baez 6-1 6-1 in their first round encounter, while Tommy Paul took down compatriot Jenson Brooksby in straight sets. In other results, top three seeds Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz both booked their spots in the Round of 16, as did Croatian Marin Cilic.

Looking to the women’s singles draw, and the first two players through to the Round of 16 were second seed Anett Kontaveit and qualifier Caroline Garcia. Kontaveit downed Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova, while Garcia upset fourth seed Maria Sakkari in three sets. In other big games, 10th seed and reigning US Open winner Emma Raducanu stormed away from Serena Williams to win 6-4 6-0, whilst Coco Gauff had to retire early in the second set of her match with Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova. Among the other winners were Romanian Sorana Cirstea – who defeated 12th seed Belinda Bencic – while fellow seeds Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko all advanced through to the second round.


Cincinnati – ATP 1000 | Hard

Round of 32:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-4 7-5
[3] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [WC] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3 6-2
[14] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-4 6-7 7-5

Round of 64:

[10] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-7 6-4 7-6
[11] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Sebastian Baez (ARG) 6-1 6-1
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 1-6 7-5 7-6
[PR] Borna Coric (CRO) defeated [Q] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 7-6 6-2
Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 6-2 6-2
[LL] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-2 6-3
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 7-5 6-4
Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Jenson Brooksby (USA) 6-3 6-2
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-3 6-4
[WC] Ben Shelton (USA) defeated [Q] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 7-6 3-6 7-5

Cincinnati – WTA 1000 | Hard

Round of 32:

[2] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) 3-6 7-5 6-4
[Q] Caroline Garcia (RA) defeated [4] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-6 6-7 6-1

Round of 64:

[10] Emma Raducanu )GBR) defeated Serena Williams (USA) 6-4 6-0
[Q] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated [11] Coco Gauff (USA) 7-5 1-0 RET
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated [12] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-2 6-7 6-4
[14] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated [WC] Venus Williams (USA) 7-5 6-1
[15] Simona Halep (ROU) defeated [LL] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-4 3-6 6-3
[16] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 7-6 7-5
[Q] Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-4 5-7 6-4
Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [Q] Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-1 6-1
[WC] Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [WC] Sofia Kenin (USA) 6-2 6-1
Shuai Zhang (CHN) defeated Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-4 7-5
Madison Keys (USA) defeated Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-5 6-3

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