Watching the young Italian Jannik Sinner in Antwerp, a former world no. 1 and Rolland Garros champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov predicted a great future for the upcoming star of the ATP Tour and world no. 1 position within a couple of years.
Making a debut at the Next Gen Finals in Milan on Tuesday night, Jannik took down much more experienced Frances Tiafoe 3-4, 4-2, 4-2, 4-2 in an hour and 26 minutes for the second victory over the American after Antwerp a few weeks ago.
Producing his outstanding shotmaking abilities, Jannik fired 31 winners and 20 unforced errors, fending off all four break chances to mount the pressure on Tiafoe and dominate in sets two, three and four with one break in each from five chances overall.
Frances played well too but that wasn't enough to topple the younger opponent and make a winning start, hoping for a better result against Ugo Humbert or Mikael Ymer. Hitting one good serve after another, they needed a swift 14 minutes to land six service games and set up a tie break where Frances opened a 6-1 lead with early mini-breaks, closing the set in the 11th point after a forehand error from Sinner for a massive boost.
Leaving the opener behind, Jannik delivered three commanding holds in the second set and grabbed a break in the fifth game to change the course of the clash, fending off a break chance in the next game for a 4-2 and much better starting point ahead of set number three.
The Italian blasted a forehand winner in the third game of the third set to earn a break and move in front, repelling two break chances at 3-2 with service winners to move closer to the finish line. The Italian fired another service winner in the second game of the fourth set to keep his serve intact, breaking Tiafoe a few minutes later and sealing the deal in the sixth game to deliver the first victory of the competition on his debut in Milan.
Watching the match, a famous coach Sven Groeneveld also dropped a Major prise towards Jannik, predicting him stellar future, world no. 1 position and multiple Major titles! Ranked 549th at the beginning of the season, Sinner raced through the ATP ranking list to gain some 450 places, cracking the top-100 after winning seven ATP matches, one Challenger crown and two Futures, hoping for more of the same in 2020 when he should attack the place in the top-50.