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Jannik Sinner was on course to become the first Italian to reach the last four of the ATP after a thrilling 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/2) victory over Novak Djokovic on Tuesday Reached finals.

World number four Sinner needed a straight-sets victory over tennis icon Djokovic in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in Turin to secure his place in the Greens’ group with one game to spare.

And although the 22-year-old couldn’t quite pull it off, an excellent performance gave him his first win in four attempts against Djokovic, who is looking to win for the seventh time at this year’s tournament.

“It means a lot to me,” Sinner said in court.

“When you win against the world number one who has won 24 Grand Slams, you are obviously at the top.”

The fans made a big noise about Sinner and shouted his name in the hall as he claimed victory in a thrilling three-hour contest that took place well after midnight at the Pala Alpitour.

Sinner has had the best year of his career and appears to be making good on his long-standing promise, winning four titles this season, including the Masters 1000 event in Toronto, and looks to be on form in Italy.

He made the first breakthrough when he took advantage of Djokovic, who gave him a lead with a double fault in the 11th game, taking the lead to 6-5 with a strong backhand before securing the set with a service game.

Djokovic leveled after a grueling second set in which neither player had a single break point, but after recovering from a 4-2 deficit in the decider, he lost in the tiebreak and ended his 20-game winning streak.

“In games like this there will be very few chances and if you don’t take them, the other player will,” Djokovic said.

“Some you win, some you lose… I don’t think I did too much wrong in terms of play, he was just more decisive and courageous in the moments he needed to be.”

The fate of both players will be decided in the final round of group games, with Djokovic facing Hubert Hurkacz, who stepped in for Stefanos Tsitsipas after the Greek pulled out of the tournament with a back injury against Sinner’s next opponent Holger Rune.

And Rune will have the advantage of having played just three games before being awarded a straight-set win.

Tsitsipas was trailing 2-1 in the first set of his match with finals debutant Rune when he was forced to retire, giving his opponent his first ever win in the tournament.

The number six seed was loudly booed by the crowd, who barely saw fifteen minutes of singles play in the afternoon session. Fans were upset that he played despite persistent injury rumours.

“I’m disappointed that I couldn’t finish the game,” Tsitsipas, 25, told reporters.

“My doctors and the countless visits I have had in the last few days have suggested that I play… Unfortunately I felt terrible on the pitch. I tried my best to be ready and fit for this game, but it didn’t work for me.

Tsitsipas said after his exit that he had struggled during the warm-up and that once he was on the pitch he felt too much pain to finish the game.

“I have had pain during games in the past… But this was clearly too much and I had to make the difficult decision to do what I did,” he said.

Tsitsipas also suggested that a “lack of rest” in a busy schedule may have contributed to his having to drop out.

The ATP has come under fire from players and coaches over scheduling, which often results in games taking place late at night and recovery times at tournaments being short.

On Wednesday, world number two Carlos Alcaraz will look to get his Red Group campaign underway against Andrey Rublev, while Daniil Medvedev will eye a place in the last four in his clash with Alexander Zverev.


Source : www.barrons.com

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