Rotterdam | Sinner claims title and rises to No.3

The Australian Open champion, Jannik Sinner claimed his second title of the season after defeating Alex de Minaur 7-5 6-4 in the ABN AMRO Open championship round and, on Monday, when the new rankings are released, will rise to world No.3 and become the highest ranked male in Italian tennis history.

Amazing week. It has been a joy to play in Rotterdam. Jannik Sinner

The victory produced the 22-year-old’s 12th title with his 15th consecutive tour win which includes 12 for this season alone.

For De Minaur it was the seventh loss he has suffered at the hands of Sinner whom he has yet to beat though he did manage on this occasion, to break the Italian once in each set, but eventually to no avail.

Sinner himself was in fine form, improving all week and culminating with a strong final performance losing just one set against Gael Monfils in round two after opening his campaign by defeating home favourite Botic van Zanschulp, and then eliminating the big serving Canadian Milos Raonic and finally another Dutchman, Tallon Griekspoor in the semi-finals.

In some ways De Minaur, the fifth seed, arrived in the final by overcoming some tougher opposition in the shape of the much in-form Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in his semi, having beaten the second seed Russian Andrey Rublev in the previous round in three.

The two were therefore in fine form for the final but it was Sinner’s defensive work which proved crucial as he soaked up the power hitting of the Aussie which he able turned to his advantage on many occasions.

In the 9th game he failed to convert four set points with uncharacteristic errors and De Minaur’s determination earned him a break point which Sinner saved with a looping overhead, only to then hand him a second opportunity with a backhand volley error. The pair then played the longest rally of the match – 34 shots – for De Minaur to get back on serve.

Sinner immediately broke back to go on and claim the opener after 68-minutes of intense play.

That set the mood for Sinner who controlled the second set eventually closing out the match after two-hours and 5-minutes of entertaining tennis.

“I served for the first set at 5-4 and he played an incredible game there,” Sinner, who hit 23 winners, admitted afterwards.

“I missed a couple of things, but that’s normal. I had to get back on [it] the point after, and I felt like the match was really good. We both played well, I felt that I could have served a little bit better, but those are the details. In the future, that could make me stronger. Amazing week. It has been a joy to play in Rotterdam.

“Every time when you win a title, it doesn’t matter how big, it means a lot. I had a little bit more attention, but when you earn something, you have to deal with that. I felt like I was trying to put 100% effort into everything I’ve done and that’s the result of this week. It’s going to start again from zero at Indian Wells, so I’m already trying to improve, and let’s see what’s coming.”

Jannik Sinner (L) and Alex de Minaur pose with their Rotterdam trophies

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

It was not all gloom for the Aussie who climbs back into the top 10 at 9, his highest ranking to date, and leaves Rotterdam with a 10-3 win-loss record for the season.

However, his seventh loss to the Italian must be irksome as he joked when posting “I don’t like you” under Sinner’s Rotterdam victory post on Instagram, illustrating it with a laughing emoji.



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