Monday, April 15, 2024

ATP Finals: Home favourite Sinner shocks Djokovic to go 2-0 in Green Group

Home favourite Jannik Sinner earned a dramatic 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) victory against Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals group match for his first Head-to-Head win in four tries against the Serbian great.

The result improved Sinner to 2-0 in ATP Finals and put him in command of the Green Group — though his qualification for the knockout semi-final stage is not yet confirmed, reports ATP.

In the pair’s first hard-court meeting, Sinner’s brilliant ball-striking ended Djokovic’s 19-match winning streak, which dated back to his Cincinnati title run. The Italian’s career-best season now includes 59 match wins — the most by an Italian in the Open Era — and a 10-5 record against the Top 10.

Sinner also improved to 15-1 indoors for 2023 by earning his second victory against a reigning World No. 1; he also beat then-No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the Miami semifinal earlier this season.

Djokovic spent much of the three-hour, nine-minute matchup battling back from behind, but he had no answer for Sinner’s lightning start to the decisive tie-break.

Long after he won nine straight points to snatch the opening set, breaking from 40/0 before a love hold, Sinner surged ahead in the final tie-break with five consecutive points, hitting huge ground strokes in the face of extreme pressure to build what proved to be an unassailable lead.

In the third set, Sinner led 4-2 but was pegged back immediately as Djokovic broke serve for the first time in the match. There would be no comeback in the tie-break, as Sinner sent the crowd to fever pitch with victory before receiving a warm embrace from his opponent at net.

Djokovic dropped to 1-1 in Turin with the defeat but still remains in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals. He will close out his round-robin campaign against Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday, with the Pole coming in as an alternate to Stefanos Tsitsipas (back injury).

Sinner will meet Holger Rune as he seeks to finish 3-0 in the group.



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