Sinner Soars Past Kokkinakis In Rome Opener
Jannik Sinner gave a lesson in handling home pressure on Friday in Rome, where the highest-ranked Italian in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings made a lightning-fast start to his 2023 Internazionali BNL d'Italia campaign.
Sinner breezed past the dangerous Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-1, 6-4 to reach the third round at the ATP Masters 1000 event. A near-complete performance from the World No. 8 featured precise serving, fierce baseline hitting and high-class net play, and he wrapped victory in 79-minutes at the Foro Italico to improve to 13-3 at Masters 1000 level for the year.
“I’m happy about my level today,” said Sinner, who did not face a break point and converted three of five of his own against Kokkinakis. “It was not easy. It was a little bit breezy, a little bit windy and I think he especially in the second set served a little bit better. I also had a couple of chances then which I didn’t use, but I’m very happy about my serve, I felt the ball very well.”
Sinner arrived in Rome having reached the championship match in Miami either side of semi-final runs in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo, a sequence of Masters 1000 performances that have lifted the 21-year-old to fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The Italian feels ready to impress at home as he seeks another deep run to boost his early Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes.
“It is a very special feeling, especially here in Rome, trying to be an example for the young kids,” said Sinner, when asked about his vocal young fans in the crowd. “Also spending a little bit of time with them, which is important, to show them the love. It is just a very special tournament for me. I only have this kind of crowd once a year, or twice a year if I qualify for Turin.
“That’s obviously my goal, and I am also trying to go deep here in Rome, but I take it match after match. I feel ready to compete, but let’s see in the next round because it is going to be a tough one.”
Sinner is now 5-0 in his opening-round matches in Rome, where he reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 2022. His next test in the Italian capital is a third-round clash against Alexander Shevchenko, after the lucky loser defeated Sebastian Baez 6-3, 6-4.