On Thursday, Jannik Sinner became the first Italian to qualify for the semi-finals of the ATP Masters, the stage of the competition that Novak Djokovic joined thanks to the world’s 4th tennis player.
Sinner, 24, had a flawless performance in the group stage, with three wins, the last of which came painfully against Denmark’s Holger Rune 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
“It was a very complicated match, I never won it, I started well, but then it got complicated. Against Holger, everything starts from the beginning after every set,” analyzed Sinner, who seemed disturbed by back pain from the 2nd set.
“Now we’ll see what can be done on Saturday” in the semi-finals, he continued.
Sinner was already guaranteed entry to the semi-finals even before the last match.
Polish Hubert Hurkacz, one of his best friends on the track, offered him this historic qualification by taking a set from Novak Djokovic.
The world number 1 and defending champion eventually won against Hurkacz, replacing Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who had a back injury, in three sets 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-1.
But the loss of the second set, after falling from the fifth game, allowing Hurkacz to win thirteen points in a row, almost cost “Đok” dearly.
If Sinner lost to Rune, Djokovic, who lost the duel against the Italian on Tuesday, was eliminated.
Djokovic can still aim for the record
“It is no longer in our hands, the format of this tournament demands it, I knew it before I played this match,” Djokovic explained after the victory.
“He is a player I really like off the field, but less so when we meet. He often gives me problems with his serve,” he added about his opponent of the day.
During this match, the Serb sometimes showed great nervousness, he exchanged words that did not seem friendly to his camp when changing sides.
“My children are coming tonight, I will spend time with them. I’m not sure I’m watching the game” Sinner, assured the Serb.
Đoković, confident that he will end the year at the top of the world rankings for the eighth time in his career, can therefore still aim for the seventh crown at the “Masters Tournament”.
Together with the Swiss Roger Federer, he holds the record for the number of victories (6).
On Saturday, they will face the winner of the red group in the semi-finals, the outcome of which will be sealed on Friday.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the winner of his first two matches, has already secured a place in one of the first two places in this group. The last card for the last four will be played by Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, world number 2, and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who each have one win.
Alcaraz will face Medvedev on Friday, while Zverev will face Russia’s Andrei Rublev in the evening.