Sinner reaches ATP Next Gen semis
Jannik Sinner has taken the headlines this week at the Next Generation ATP Finals, despite only being there on a wildcard entry.
The Italian’s easy victory over Mikael Ymer from Sweden means that he is in the last four after winning 4-0, 4-2, 4-1, and he will now have the opportunity to head even further up the rankings before the year is out.
At 18, he is the youngest player inside the top 100 right now, and it seems entirely possible that he can edge a little further even if this turns out to be his last tournament of the season.
Sinner was so quick in victory that he almost took the record for the fastest time to chalk up a win in this tournament – that accolade was set last year by Alex de Minaur, who was just a minute quicker.
This year, De Minaur is still going strong, and recorded his own triumph over Miomir Kecmanović to keep his campaign going.
The top seed is showing no signs of nerves despite one set in which he was beaten far too easily, and he ended up winning the match 4-1, 4-3, 1-4, 4-1.
The format of this tournament has proved interesting, with the ATP deciding to get these players used to the pressure and tactics that come with five-set tournaments but without overworking them with quite so many games.
It means that these are first to five, but each set only goes up to four – however, tiebreaks are played first to seven, with two clear points, as in most major tournaments.
Frances Tiafoe recovered from his first-game loss to Sinner by beating Ugo Humbert 4-2, 4-3, 3-4, 4-1, while Casper Ruud got the better of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 3-4, 4-3, 4-2, 3-4, 4-1.
Sinner, meanwhile, believes that he has what it takes to go all the way to the top after his impressive start in Milan, saying that “it is not a presumption” but something he is confident about if he keeps on improving.
His stock is clearly going to rise after securing the wildcard entry, and he is seen as the young Italian hope who can fly the flag for his country.
Fabio Fognini has been doing that for the men recently, making it around the top ten this year, and this will certainly be something that Sinner hopes to emulate.
Words: Danielle Nixon