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La résurrection de Stefanos Tsitsipas Jannik Sinner, on top of the world

Jannik Sinner clinched his ticket for a seventh encounter against Carlos Alcaraz after beating Grigor Dimitrov (6/4 3/6 6/2) in the China Open quarter-finals.

Their previous matches were incredible and full of suspense. The one that will decide who will reach this week’s final shouldn’t be any different. Carlos Alcaraz is driven by his will to get the number one spot – that he lost at the US Open – back. The end of the season is an opportunity for Jannik Sinner to add to his trophy collection – which has been too small since January.

The young Italian’s match against Grigor Dimitrov reminded us of how dangerous he is for Carlos Alcaraz. For 2 hours and 30 minutes, Jannik Sinner showed the quality of his tennis but above all his out-of-this-world ability to adapt.

The first set went the seventh player of the world’s way. Jannik Sinner didn’t take a step back from his baseline to attack his opponent on every strike. He made strings of perfect strikes until Grigor Dimitrov imploded. His efforts were rewarded by an early break. The Italian decided on the rhythm, the looks, and the score. Game after game, Grigor Dimitrov freed his tennis. The latter played with the lines to avoid endless rallies. The second half of the set was more balanced. Servers ruled the roost. Jannik Sinner enforced a constructed-forward tennis while the Bulgarian showed the quality of his backhand.

The beginning of the second set made us think that the match would be an easy win for the Italian. He kept on hitting the ball early to put his opponent under pressure. Grigor Dimitrov was on a knife-edge during each of his serve games. Conceding a break would have meant a sure loss. Galvanized by his survival instinct, the former world number three saved a pile of breakpoints. Unconverted opportunities swept by Jannik Sinner’s eyes – powerless. Grigor Dimitrov didn’t repeat his opponent’s mistakes. He hit a dazzling return to clinch an unexpected break. This only opportunity was enough to give him the set.

Jannik Sinner hung on in the second set. Since he was in bad physical shape, he couldn’t play long rallies like at the beginning of the match. His risk-taking attitude every second disturbed Grigor Dimitrov – who lost his first game of serve. The Italian kept on with the same dynamic until the end of the match: he multiplied winning returns and reached unthinkable zones. The Bulgarian tried to force Jannik Sinner to play long rallies. To do so, he slowed down the pace thanks to perfect sliced backhands. This strategy wasn’t enough to disturb the Toronto champion – who was feeling better. He finished the match on his first opportunity.

The unfolding of the match could almost make us forget that Jannik Sinner is only 22 years old. His ability to fight back after the loss of the second set was impressive. No matter his physical form, he was able to stay focused to find a way out.

His best Spanish enemy will have to be alert until the last seconds of their match if he wants to reach the final.

Marnie Abbou  

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