Jannik Sinner: 'I don't think about my rivals as long as I play on high level'

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Jannik Sinner: 'I don't think about my rivals as long as I play on high level'

Generali Open in Kitzbuhel is usually one of the last ATP tournaments on clay of the season. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kitzbuhel is the first stop for the clay-courters this year, gathering those who didn't want to play the US Open and others who lost early in New York.

Jannik Sinner suffered a heartbreaking loss to Karen Khachanov in the OS Open first-round, squandering two sets to love advantage and hitting the exit door after almost four hours. Heading back to Europe, Jannik entered Kitzbuhel as the youngest player in the draw and defeated the two-time champion and resident Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2 triumph in 63 minutes.

Competing on clay for the first time this year, Jannik gave away 11 points in nine service games and suffering one break. Kohlschreiber needed much more than that to stay in touch, dropping half of the points behind the initial shot and suffering four break opportunities to push Jannik through.

A teenager held at love in the first game, repeating the same games later after a forehand winner. The first break came in game six when the German sprayed a forehand error, pulling the break back a few minutes later to remain in touch.

Sinner got another one that sent him 5-3 in front, sealing the opening set with an ace in game nine. A return winner gave Jannik an early lead in set number two, cementing the advantage with a forehand drive-volley winner a few minutes later.

Philipp saved a break point in game three before Jannik delivered the second break to forge a 4-1 lead. The Italian held at love to move closer to victory, crossing the finish line with a forehand winner at 5-2.

Jannik Sinner is back on the winning way in Kitzbuhel.

"It has not been easy for both Phillip and me. We played the US Open last week and had to travel to another continent and change the surface. We are maybe still jetlagged and it has not been easy to find the rhythm. I have not played on clay for more than one year, so it is a bit different.

I tried to push from the back of the court and tried to play my game. I am thrilled with the victory. Philipp is a great guy; he has been on the Tour for such a long time, so it never easy to beat an experienced rival. Last year in Vienna, I played against him in the first round.

It has been a very positive day, and I don't care so much about mu next opponents, as long as I'm happy with my game. I am trying to get better day after day and will feel great if I play better tomorrow than I did today. That is what I am looking for," Jannik Sinner said.