Jannik Sinner felt ready to chase a deep run at Roland Garros. However, the Italian experienced a heartbreaking 6-7, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 loss to Daniel Altmaier in the second round. The encounter lasted five hours and 26 minutes, and Jannik squandered two match points on his serve in the fourth set's tenth game.
Altmaier kept fighting and prevailed in the final set's closing stages for a career-best win. Sinner admitted it was a tough loss to swallow. However, he is eager to bounce back and work on the improvements that would secure him a place at the ATP Finals in Turin.
Sinner claimed five points more than his opponent thanks to the third set, but not the crucial ones. The Italian built a massive advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes, and the German reduced it in the mid-range and most advanced exchanges.
Jannik played better behind the second serve but could not take advantage of that after stumbling on the last step. Sinner converted six out of 21 break points, which is the crucial element of his defeat. They had a similar number of winners and unforced errors, and nothing could separate them until the final point.
They traded breaks at 3-3 in the opening set and served well in the remaining four to introduce a tie break. Jannik claimed the breaker 7-0 after Daniel's forehand error for a lead after 54 minutes. The second set saw 11 commanding holds and one scare for Altmaier.
The German netted a forehand in the fifth game and faced three break points. He denied them after Sinner's mistakes and brought the game home after a forehand down the line winner.
Jannik Sinner wasted two match points against Daniel Altmaier at Roland Garros.
The returners had no chance in the remaining seven games, with another tie break deciding the winner. Altmaier earned an early mini-break and forged a 6-3 advantage after forcing Sinner's mistake. The Italian denied all three set points and climbed back to 6-6.
He erased another at 6-7 before the German clinched the fifth at 8-7 with a smash winner for a massive boost. Jannik took charge in the third set, serving well and keeping the pressure on the other side. Sinner cracked a backhand down the line winner in the fourth game to earn a break and opened a 5-1 gap with another return game on his tally.
The Italian closed the set with a service winner in game seven, hoping for more in the fourth. The German raced into a 3-0 lead before losing it in the next games. Jannik pushed strong on the return in game nine and seized the fourth break chance for 5-4, serving for the victory in the next one.
Sinner saved a break point and created two match points. Altmaier defended superbly on the first and denied it after a lucky net cord winner. The German saved the second after the rival's loose backhand and broke back when the Italian sprayed a forehand error.
The set went into a tie break, and Daniel won it 7-4 with a volley winner at the net to force a decider after four hours and 11 minutes. Altmaier served well and broke Sinner in the seventh game, building the advantage and serving for the victory at 5-4.
Jannik gave everything to extend the battle, converting the third break chance with a smash winner to lock the result at 5-5. However, he lost serve again in the 11th game to fall 6-5 behind. The German served for the victory for the second time in the 12th game, and they made it memorable!
Sinner denied four match points and created three break chances that could have introduced the deciding match tie break. Altmaier saved them and fired an ace down the T line on his fifth match point to celebrate a career-best victory.
"I had my opportunities. I could not find the right way to win the points. I was a bit unfortunate at some points, but this is the sport. I will come back stronger. I knew it was a tough last two tournaments. I put a bit too much expectation or pressure on myself; it's part of the game.
The season is going well, and I have played many matches. It's a tough defeat to swallow, but I will keep going. I felt very prepared for Roland Garros. I feel good mentally, and we have been working hard on the physical part with extended practice sessions.
It's tough to work so hard and not take the prize. However, this is not a sprint but a marathon. I will keep going with the hard work, and the rewards will come. This is a tough loss, but nothing ends here. My goal is to reach the ATP Finals in Turin, and I'm eager to work on the improvements," Jannik Sinner said.
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