© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

#NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner defeats Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets in his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters debut.

Sinner Sets Djokovic Clash In Monte-Carlo

Italian defeats Ramos-Vinolas in tournament debut

In his first appearance since his runner-up finish at the Miami Open presented by Itau, Jannik Sinner claimed a debut win at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Tuesday to book a blockbuster meeting with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

The #NextGenATP Italian made a slow start to his first-round match, but he recovered quickly to defeat 2017 finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4 on Court des Princes. Sinner rallied from 0-2 in the first set and broke serve on three occasions to improve to 15-5 this season.

“I practised [for] three days on clay, which is not that much, knowing that [Ramos-Vinolas] played well in Marbella. He played a good tournament there… Maybe he was a little bit tired," said Sinner.

“It's always good for me to see what I can do on clay. Obviously, I am not in the best form on clay now for the first week. But I think today was a solid match from my side. It was not easy. He's not giving [away] one point, so you have to stay there the whole match… I think I played a good match from my side.”

Sinner and Djokovic will meet for the first time on the ATP Tour in Monte-Carlo. Djokovic is competing for the first time since he captured a record-extending ninth Australian Open title in February.

Sinner is competing in only his fourth ATP Masters 1000 main draw this week. The Great Ocean Road Open champion recovered from a set down against Karen Khachanov and Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the Miami championship match (l. to Hurkacz).

Sinner was one of five Italians to reach the second round on Tuesday. Defending champion Fabio Fognini moved past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 7-5 on Court Rainier III and there were also wins for Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Salvatore Caruso.

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Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media

Sonego defeated Rotterdam runner-up Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-4 to extend his unbeaten record on clay this year to 5-0. Last week’s Cagliari singles and doubles champion (w/Vavassori) will meet Alexander Zverev in the second round.

Cecchinato converted five of his nine break points to beat German qualifier Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-3. Caruso trailed by a set and a break at 6-7(3), 2-3 when his match against Monegasque wild card Lucas Catarina was suspended on Monday. The Italian qualifier recovered well to defeat the home hope 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-3 in three hours and eight minutes.

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“It's difficult right now, but I can remember things I did during that match to keep improving,” said Catarina. “Maybe I can play other tournaments at a high level. I hope I will be able to win more matches.”

Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz needed three sets to complete his two-day encounter against Thomas Fabbiano on Court No. 2. The Pole, who led 6-3, 0-1 when play was suspended due to rain on Monday, saved seven of the nine break points he faced to beat the Italian qualifier 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

The 13th seed will meet Daniel Evans for a place in the third round. The British No. 1 overcame 2019 runner-up Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-7(11), 6-2 in another match played over two days. Evans was unable to convert two match points in a marathon 24-point second-set tie-break, but he quickly regained his composure in the decider to race to victory.