ATP

Sinner a winner again in Sofia after successful title defence

By Sports Desk October 03, 2021

Jannik Sinner eased to another Sofia Open title with a 6-3 6-4 final win over Gael Monfils in a battle of the top two seeds.

Sinner's first ATP Tour final had come at this event in 2020, where he opened his account by beating Vasek Pospisil in three sets – a sterner test than he was given by Monfils.

The Italian had since tasted victory twice more, while Monfils' previous final had been in February 2020, although his success this week extended a run of seasons with final appearances to 17 in a row.

The most recent three of the Frenchman's prior 31 had ended in glory, but he was no match for defending champion Sinner.

The 20-year-old had already passed up a break point before consecutive superb forehand winners brought the breakthrough, the second clipping the net on its way through.

A marathon rally saved the second of two break points Sinner faced in the seventh game, yet that was as close as he came to being stopped.

After Sinner served out the opener, Monfils paid the price for losing his focus at the start of the second, adamant he had landed the first point of the set inside the line as a narrow call went against him.

Monfils' wild backhand then went long to give Sinner the lead in the second, one he never relinquished as he coasted through to serve out the match to love.

"I'm happy to be one more time the winner here in Sofia," Sinner said. "I think it's a very, very nice tournament.

"For sure it was the best match [he played in the tournament], because I had to. It's never easy to play against him. We've had very tough matches, I think everyone knows that.

"Today, in the [key] moments, I was a little bit luckier than him, so that helped a lot."

Related items

  • Raducanu cruises into Nottingham Open quarter-finals after dominant Snigur win Raducanu cruises into Nottingham Open quarter-finals after dominant Snigur win

    Emma Raducanu cruised into the quarter-finals of the Nottingham Open with a straight-sets victory over Daria Snigur on Thursday.

    After making her return from injury in the previous round, Raducanu made light work of the match, winning 6-2, 6-2 as her preparation for Wimbledon continued.

    Despite a bright start from Snigur, which saw her break the Briton's serve in the opening game, she could not hold off Raducanu's challenge as she reeled off six games in a row to win the first set.

    With her confidence back, Raducanu secured two breaks in the second set to ease through and will face Francesca Jones or Ashlyn Krueger in the next round.

    Data Debrief: Raducanu easing back to full threat

    After a slightly shaky first round against Ena Shibahara, Raducanu looked a confident figure on the court as she dispatched Snigur.

    Her serve proved a highlight as she served 11 aces in the second set, and had a 70 per cent win rate on her first serve throughout the match.

  • Top seed Pegula out of Libema Open as De Minaur progresses Top seed Pegula out of Libema Open as De Minaur progresses

    Top seed Jessica Pegula bowed out of the Libema Open following a three-set defeat by Aleksandra Krunic in s'Hertogenbosch.

    The world number five was ousted 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 by the 2018 winner of this event, who claimed the fifth top-10 victory of her career and advanced to the quarter-finals.

    Now ranked 400th in the world, Krunic recovered from an earlier break in the opening set to force a tie-break, in which she won five straight points to draw first blood.

    The Serbian also cancelled out a break before heading into another tie-break, but Pegula reeled off five points on the spin this time to level.

    The American was appearing in her first tournament since April, having missed the European clay-court season with a rib injury.

    However, she saw two break-point opportunities go begging in the opening game of the deciding set, and Krunic crucially broke in game three before holding out for an impressive victory. 

    Later on, Alex de Minaur booked his place in the quarter-finals of the competition after a straight-sets victory over Zizou Bergs. 

    The world number nine had to work for his victory over the Belgian, overcoming his opponent 7-5 6-4 to earn his first triumph on a grass court this year. 

    Bergs matched his opponent in the opening exchanges, but the Australian would eventually prevail, winning a break-point and following up without dropping a point in the final game. 

    De Minaur would again endure a difficult set to confirm the victory as Bergs threatened to level the encounter, but the number one seed again showed his class, finishing the contest in style. 

    De Minaur will face either Roberto Bautista Agut or Milos Raonic in the next round.

    Data Debrief: Krunic rekindles special memories as de Minaur earns maiden grass win

    Krunic will forever have an affinity with s-Hertogenbosch, where she won her only career WTA title six years ago.

    And the 31-year-old claimed an impressive scalp here to reach her first WTA quarter-final since 2022 - and first on grass since that 2018 triumph.

    De Minaur impressed once again, winning 86 per cent of his first serve points against the Belgian. 

    Their meeting in s-Hertogenbosch was the first between the pair, with De Minaur able to overcome his quarter-final defeat to Alexander Zverev at the French Open. 

  • Nadal confirms Wimbledon absence to focus on Olympics Nadal confirms Wimbledon absence to focus on Olympics

    Rafael Nadal confirmed he will miss Wimbledon in order to focus on competing at his "last Olympics" in Paris.

    The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation confirmed on Wednesday the 22-time major winner will feature in the men's singles and men's doubles events, which will be played on the clay courts of Roland-Garros.

    Nadal, who will partner Carlos Alcaraz in the doubles, played what was expected to be his final French Open campaign last month, where he said he was unlikely to play at Wimbledon following his first-round exit to Alexander Zverev.

    And the 38-year-old confirmed his decision on his social media channels, opting to continue his preparations on clay rather than switching from grass at the All England Club, where he is a two-time champion.

    "It was announced yesterday that I will play at the Summer Olympics in Paris, my last Olympics," said Nadal, who will prepare for the Olympics by entering the ATP 250 event in Bastad earlier in July.

    "With this goal, we believe that the best thing for my body is not to change surfaces, and to keep playing on clay until then. It's for this reason that I will miss playing at the Championships this year at Wimbledon.

    "I am saddened not to be able to live this year the great atmosphere of that amazing event that will always be in my heart, and be with all the British fans that always gave me great support. I will miss you all."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.