ATP

Sinner sets up Bautista Agut reunion in Barcelona

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

Jannik Sinner set up a clash with Roberto Bautista Agut at the Barcelona Open as he vowed to keep making progress after cracking the top 20 for the first time.

Italian 19-year-old Sinner is a fast-rising new star of the men's game and now has a ranking to match his age. However, he was put in his place by Novak Djokovic last week in Monte Carlo, before the world number one was himself dealt a jolting defeat by Dan Evans.

Sinner sped past Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in the first round in Barcelona on Tuesday, winning 6-3 6-2, and it will be wily world number 11 Bautista Agut who stands in his way of going deeper into the tournament.

In two meetings on hard courts this season, Sinner has edged out 33-year-old Spaniard Bautista Agut in tight deciding sets, and now they face a reunion on clay.

"He lost in Dubai against me, he lost in Miami against me, now we play once more here, so it's quite a small period of time," said Sinner.

"We're playing now our third match already, so it's going to be a very tough match. He is very, very solid. I never played against him on clay. I'm trying to be ready in the best possible way."

Bautista Agut barged past fellow Spanish player Pablo Andujar, scoring a 6-4 6-0 win.

Sinner was proud to enter the ATP top 20 this week but sees it as just a step on his journey, saying: "Obviously it's a good number, but for me at the moment not that important."

He added, quoted on the ATP website: "[I'm] just trying to improve day after day with my team and trying to improve as a player and the ranking is what it is. I'm happy to be top 20 player but the road is long so a lot of work to do."

Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzo Musetti and Frances Tiafoe, who fought off 17-year-old Spanish prospect Carlos Alcaraz, were also among Tuesday's winners in Barcelona.

Star turn Djokovic begins his campaign at the Serbia Open on Wednesday when he tackles Kwon Soon-woo, with the 18-time grand slam winner having received a first-round bye.

Tuesday's play in Belgrade saw wins for, among others, Federico Delbonis, Aljaz Bedene and Miomir Kecmanovic.

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Kyrgios into first major semi-final after racing to Garin win Wimbledon: Kyrgios into first major semi-final after racing to Garin win

    Nick Kyrgios wasted little time in booking a first career grand slam as he outclassed Cristian Garin in straight sets to reach the last four of Wimbledon.

    The Australian, a beaten quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2015's Australian Open, dominated en route to a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win in the tournament's first quarter-final between two unseeded players since 2008 (Arnaud Clement v Rainer Schuttler).

    Kyrgios has courted controversy on multiple occasions over the last fortnight, spitting in the direction of a fan in the opening round before winning a bad-tempered clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas in round three, but he put the theatrics to one side in clinching a last-four spot on No. 1 Court.

    Garin started strongly as he broke to love in the contest's opening game, but Kyrgios, energised after producing one of the shots of the tournament when stooping for a scarcely believable forehand winner, broke back shortly after.

    After overcoming a back-and-forth ninth game to record another break, Kyrgios served the opener out to love before moving through the gears in the second, which he wrapped up in 38 minutes to extend his lead.

    Kyrgios's fine serving allowed him to take control of the contest, with his 17 aces in the match moving him clear of John Isner (114) as the player with the most aces at Wimbledon this year (120).

    The Australian lost his way for much of the third set, producing a series of unforced errors to give Garin hope, but the Chilean's failure to convert any of his last eight break points saw Kyrgios force a tie-break.

    Kyrgios rediscovered his form in the breaker to see out the win, setting up a last-four meeting with either Taylor Fritz or Rafael Nadal.

    Data Slam: Kyrgios flying the flag after making quick work of Garin

    Kyrgios' win ensured he became the first male Australian player to reach Wimbledon's semi-finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

    Having being taken to five sets on two occasions in West London this year (by Paul Jubb and Brandon Nakashima), the 27-year-old enjoyed a more comfortable outing on Wednesday when extending the best major run of his career.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Garin 30/23
    Kyrgios 35/29

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Garin 2/5
    Kyrgios 17/4

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Garin 1/9
    Kyrgios 3/6

  • Wimbledon: Halep back to her best three years on from title win Wimbledon: Halep back to her best three years on from title win

    Simona Halep believes she is playing her best tennis since winning Wimbledon in 2019 after returning to the All England Club semi-finals.

    The former world number one is enjoying her first SW19 campaign since that triumph three years ago, with the coronavirus pandemic and a calf injury delaying her return.

    The final in 2019 was Halep's fifth at a major, but she has not been back to that stage since.

    Now, having swatted aside Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-4 in the last eight for a 12th consecutive victory at Wimbledon – the longest sequence since 20 straight Serena Williams successes between 2015 and 2018 – she is just one win away.

    Halep explained after the Anisimova match that confidence was key, having proven her game was back at a high level in reaching six semi-finals in 2022 – second only to Iga Swiatek (eight) on the WTA Tour.

    Three of those last-four appearances have now been on grass, with Johanna Konta in 2017 the last player to achieve that feat in a calendar year.

    "Definitely I've played the best tennis [since 2019]," Halep said in her on-court interview. "I struggled a lot last year; now, I'm just trying to build my confidence back.

    "The tennis is here, so I just have to believe. I've started to do that, and it feels good."

    Asked how high her confidence was now, she replied with a smile: "It's good."

    Halep has reached the last four without dropping a set, although that spotless record was briefly threatened by Anisimova, who was a double break down in the second set before breaking back and then leading 40-0 on the Romanian's serve.

    Yet Halep dug in to serve out the match and avoid a decider against an opponent with a Tour-leading 12 three-set wins this season.

    "I'm very emotional right now, because it means a lot to be back in the semis," Halep said.

    "I played a tough opponent today; she could crash the ball in the end, and I didn't know actually what to do.

    "But I just believed in myself and said that I had to stay there, strong on my legs – they helped me today – and I believed until the end that I could win."

  • Wimbledon: Rybakina sets up Halep semi-final with Tomljanovic triumph Wimbledon: Rybakina sets up Halep semi-final with Tomljanovic triumph

    Elena Rybakina sealed her first grand slam semi-final appearance in impressive fashion as she recovered from a set down to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-2 6-3 in Wimbledon's last eight. 

    Rybakina was on the back foot after going a set and a break down on No. 1 Court, but the big-serving 23-year-old quickly shifted through the gears to claim a routine triumph and tee up a last-four clash with Simona Halep.

    In doing so, she became the first female Kazakh player to reach a grand slam semi-final in the Open Era, with players from the country having lost on each of their previous eight major quarter-final appearances.

    Tomljanovic made a terrific start, moving well and winning 85 per cent of first-serve points as she built on a third-game break to take the opener with an impressive showing.

    But after being put under pressure by another Tomljanovic break, Rybakina came roaring back to level the contest, winning 11 consecutive points to clinch the second set as the momentum swung her way.

    A reinvigorated Rybakina broke again early in the decider as she took seven successive games and, although she had to wait to seal victory after the duo traded breaks, eventually converted her second match point to continue her best Wimbledon run.

    Data Slam: Rybakina serves up a treat

    Rybakina came into this contest having served more aces than any other player on the WTA circuit in 2022 (197), and Tomljanovic was powerless to resist as she hit another 15 on Wednesday.

    The 23-year-old has now made (44) aces at Wimbledon this year, more than any other female player.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Tomljanovic 14/21
    Rybakina 34/28

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Tomljanovic 1/1
    Rybakina 15/1

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Tomljanovic 3/9
    Rybakina 5/9

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.