© Peter Staples/Citi Open

Jannik Sinner improves to 25-14 on the season after defeating Emil Ruusuvuori in his opening match at the Citi Open.

Sinner Sails Through In Washington Debut

Italian books #NextGenATP clash with Korda

Fifth seed Jannik Sinner is up and running at the Citi Open, snapping a four-match losing streak as he defeated Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2, 6-4 in his tournament debut on Wednesday. 

The 19-year-old Italian shook off an opening-round defeat last week at the Truist Atlanta Open (l. to O’Connell), and bounced back by winning the doubles title with Reilly Opelka. The extra hard-court matches paid off in Washington, D.C., where he fired winners off both wings including three aces en route to victory in an hour and 18 minutes.

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“It was not easy. We’ve had some great battles already, this time was the third [time I faced him],” Sinner said in an on-court interview. “He’s a very, very good player and a young guy. I’m happy about my performance today. 

“I was trying to play my game. I think we both have similar styles, we both play quite flat. I was trying to change direction [of the ball] earlier than him, and that worked well for me today.” 

Sinner did not face a break point against Ruusuvuori, who reached the semi-finals last week in Atlanta. The Italian was strong behind his first serve, winning 85 per cent (17/20) of those points. Sinner improved to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head against Ruusuvuori, and 2-1 overall. 

Sinner booked a third-round clash with fellow #NextGenATP Sebastian Korda, after the 12th-seeded American defeated Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-4 on Tuesday. 

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Also in action, American Steve Johnson rallied from a set down to upset third seed Alex de Minaur 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, having held a set point at 6-5 in the opening set. Johnson needed two hours and 17 minutes to complete the turnaround, and will next face Ricardas Berankis. He seeks his third consecutive quarter-final berth, after reaching the last eight in Los Cabos and Atlanta.

Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov also suffered an upset on Wednesday as Ilya Ivashka scored a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory to reach the third round. Dimitrov was contesting his first match since Wimbledon, and the rust showed in his 40 unforced errors to 24 winners as Ivashka broke serve three times from nine opportunities. The Belarusian awaits the winner of 13th seed Benoit Paire and Mackenzie McDonald.

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