Sinner Sets Monfils Clash, Reaches Sofia Final
#NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner continued his bid to reach the Nitto ATP Finals on Saturday as he downed fifth seed Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 7-5 at the Sofia Open to reach his fourth tour-level final of the season.
Sinner, who is the defending champion in Bulgaria, was strong on serve, winning 86 per cent (24/28) of points behind his first delivery to advance after one hour and 43 minutes in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.
”It was a very tough match against him,” Sinner said. "We practise at times together, so we know each other’s games a little bit. There was a chance to go to a tie-break, which I luckily avoided. I am happy to be in the final here again.”
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The top seed has enjoyed a strong season, winning tour-level titles in Melbourne and Washington, while also advancing to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami. Sinner will rise to 10th in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin on Monday as he aims to qualify for the season finale, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.
”I just tried to stay positive with my mindset,” Sinner said. “I played a good first set and when he broke me I tried to stay there. The second set I was trying to stay positive as I felt the ball better than the other days and I think the level today was higher. It gives me a little bit of confidence ahead of the final.”
The 20-year-old has yet to drop a set this week and will face second seed Gael Monfils in the championship match after the Frenchman cruised past American Marcos Giron 7-5, 6-0. Sinner leads Monfils 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head Series, recently beating the World No. 20 in five sets at the US Open.
”We [Monfils and I] always have tough matches,” Sinner added. “It is the fourth time we will play. We had a tough one at the US Open in the fifth. He is a great player, everyone knows that. He is moving really well, which helps a lot. It is not going to be easy, but I can be happy to be in the final and I will enjoy it.”
In an entertaining match, both players played aggressively as they looked to control the tempo. After breaks were exchanged during the first set, Sinner moved ahead when Krajinovic hit a backhand into the net. The Serbian regained momentum in the second set, but could not convert from 5-2 ahead as Sinner won five games in a row to advance.Krajinovic was aiming to capture his first tour-level title this week, having enjoyed a run to the championship match in Hamburg in July.