© Bildagentur Zolles

Jannik Sinner breaks Reilly Opelka's serve three times to advance in Vienna on Wednesday.

Sinner Sharp Against Opelka In Vienna

Seventh seed will next play home favourite Novak

Jannik Sinner was focussed on avoiding a letdown following his Antwerp victory last week. The Italian star does not need to be concerned after his performance on Wednesday in Vienna.

The seventh seed dispatched big-serving American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-2 in 64 minutes to reach the second round of the Erste Bank Open. The 20-year-old will next play home favourite Dennis Novak, who beat Italian Gianluca Mager on Tuesday in straight sets.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today," Sinner said in his post-match interview. "I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Every win is critical for Sinner in his pursuit of a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals. He began the week in 10th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, just 110 points behind ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz for the final qualifying spot (eighth-placed Nadal is out for the year due to foot injury).

Since Hurkacz lost in the first round in Vienna, Sinner has an opening to make a big move at the ATP 500 in Austria. The Italian will pass the Pole if he advances to the semi-finals.

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The five-time ATP Tour titlist dominated on serve against Opelka, losing just six service points. His American opponent has one of the biggest serves on the ATP Tour, but Sinner broke him three times.

At 2-2 in the second set, when Opelka was still battling to maintain contact, Sinner unleashed a series of forehand returns, and played stellar defence to break. He did not lose a game in the rest of the match.

“I had time to adapt to the court and I used it,” Sinner said. “I think it was a great match today.”

Also on the top half of the draw, eighth seed Diego Schwartzman and Gael Monfils advanced to a tantalising second-round clash against one another.

Schwartzman battled eliminared former World No. 9 Fabio Fognini 6-2, 7-5 behind four service breaks. The Argentine star is in good form after making the Antwerp final last week.

Monfils ousted #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 7-6(2), 6-4. The Frenchman has been playing his best tennis of the season, reaching the Sofia final earlier this month and the Metz semi-finals last month.

Did You Know?
Sinner has won nine consecutive indoor matches — including titles in Sofia and Antwerp — and not lost a set in any of them. 

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