Sizzling Sinner makes Italian history

ITALY’s highest ever ranked player is on a phenomenal tear, with young gun Jannik Sinner becoming the first player in his nation to reach third in the world. Sinner did so by defeating Australian Alex de Minaur in straight sets at the ABN AMRO Open overnight, making it a mind-boggling 32 wins from his past 34 matches.

In that stretch which dates back to September last year, Sinner took out ATP 500 titles in Beijing and Vienna, the Davis Cup Finals with his nation, Australian Open maiden Grand Slam crown, and now a third ATP 500 trophy in Rotterdam. In the process he extended his win-loss record to 7-0 over Aussie de Minaur, with the Australian only advancing past Sinner when he retied ahead of their ATP 1000 clash in Paris last year.

The victory of his 15th straight ATP Tour win, and 11th straight for 2024, getting up in a tight one 7-5 6-4 as his Australian opponent pushed him to the limits. Luckily an early break in the second set was able to create some separation and the Italian dug deep to take the win in memorable style.

“My team, we did a really good job a few weeks ago and now we made a very good job here,” Sinner said. “I am really proud with the level that I played throughout this whole week. We have been in tough situations but we handled it the right way. We will always try to improve, it is the most important.”

Sinner hit 23 winners and was able to regain his composure twice after being a break up in each set, serving for the opener at 5-4 before being broken. The Italian immediately responded then served it out at his second opportunity. He would achieve the same thing in the second set before eventually powering his way to victory against a plucky de Minaur.

The match, which lasted two hours and five minutes saw the in-form de Minaur serve up 10 aces to Sinner’s four, and win a consistent 63 and 54 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 62 per cent clip. On the other hand, while Sinner’s efficiency was lower (56 per cent), his first serve dominance over the past few months continued, winning 78 per cent of his points.

Only three points separated the players in the end (79-76) showing the Australian is in scintillating form himself, winning 59 per cent of his service points on par with Sinner’s 60 per cent. In the end, the difference was Sinner’s four break point conversions to de Minaur’s two in a classic decider.

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