Sinner Stays Perfect, Downs De Minaur

Italian is 7-0 on the season

Jannik Sinner’s fledgling career continues to grow at speed.

The 20-year-old Italian maintained his perfect start to the season Monday as he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time with a high-quality 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4 win over Alex de Minaur.

The 11th seed, who is yet to taste defeat in 2022, ended Australian men's singles hopes in Melbourne with an accomplished fourth-round performance to extend his ATP Head2Head series lead over World No. 42 de Minaur to 3-0. Sinner has dropped just one set en route to the last eight at Melbourne Park.

Sinner captured four tour-level titles in a standout 2021 season, but has been unable to replicate his 2020 Roland Garros quarter-final run at a major until now. He nonetheless expressed satisfaction with the way his career has developed after securing another last-eight berth at a major against de Minaur.

“Last year was a long year for me.” Sinner said in his post-match on-court interview. “[I played] many tournaments for the first time. I’ve gained a lot of experience in the past few months. I’ve grown as a player and also as a person. At 20 you can only grow. I’m very happy to be here in the quarter-finals.”

De Minaur competed well but the 11th-seeded Italian was more clinical at key moments as he sealed victory in two hours and 35 minutes. Sinner has dropped just one set en route to the last eight at Melbourne Park.

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After saving four break points in the opening set, Sinner roared into an unassailable 6/2 lead in the first-set tie-break. His momentum also brought him an early break in the second, one that proved enough to secure a two-set lead.

Stoic defence from two of the ATP Tour’s exceptional movers produced some memorable rallies throughout. A double-break down in the third, de Minaur’s best-ever Australian Open run looked to be coming to a low-key end, but the Australian rallied to recover one back.

The Italian showed no sign of nerves, however, as he served out to cap an all-round display in which he won 75 per cent (52/69) of points behind his first serve and 81 per cent (26/32) of points at the net.

“I think in the beginning I was just serving well,” said Sinner. “He had more chances than me in the first set, then after I tried to push a little bit more, especially in the tie-break, which maybe made the difference. Then I went into my confidence, and I tried to move him a little bit, but it’s very tough playing against Alex, especially here in Australia. He always plays very, very well.”

After Matteo Berrettini’s win over Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday, Sinner’s victory made it only the second time in the Open Era (Roland Garros in 1973) that two Italian men have reached the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam.

The 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion will now face the winner of the night session quarter-final between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz. Regardless of his opponent, Sinner will be looking to improve a losing ATP Head2Head record – he trails World No. 4 Tsitsipas 1-2 and World No. 22 Fritz 0-1.

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