In 2019, Jannik Sinner earned the first Masters 1000 victory for the 2001 generation at home in Rome against Steve Johnson. Working on his game regularly, Jannik is a far more superior player in comparison to May 2019, improving all the elements of his game to challenge the rivals from the top-50.
Earning a wild card in Rome this week, Jannik defeated Benoit Paire in just over an hour for his second Masters 1000 victory, setting the second-round clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek was the one who toppled Jannik in front of his fans last year, and a teenager was ready to serve revenge on Wednesday, beating Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 in two hours and 13 minutes for his second top-10 triumph.
Jannik had the upper hand in the Next Gen ATP Finals champions battle, dominating sets one and three to cross the finish line and enter the last 16. The Italian had won 11 out of the first 14 games before Tsitsipas found the way to bounce back and remain competitive, reaching a decider where Sinner left him behind for another early exit after that terrible US Open defeat to Borna Coric.
Jannik lost serve twice from three break chances offered to Stefanos, stealing the rival's serve seven times from 14 opportunities to move over the top. Sinner had 27 winners and 39 unforced errors while Tsitsipas stayed on modest 16 winners and almost 60 errors, unable to challenge a teenager in sets he lost.
A teenager had the upper hand in the opener, dropping two points on serve and delivering three breaks for 6-1 in 30 minutes. Tsitsipas got broken in the first game following a forehand winner from Sinner. The Italian wasted two more break opportunities in the third game before winning four straight points at 3-1 to open a massive lead in no time at all.
Jannik Sinner defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets in Rome.
From 40-15 in game seven, Tsitsipas gave serve away for the third time after a double fault, having to raise his level if he wanted to fight for the win. Jannik secured a break in game two in the second set to forge a 5-2 advantage, serving for a commanding triumph in game nine.
With no room for errors, Stefanos broke back and leveled the score at 5-5, delivering another break at 5-5 to serve for the set. Sinner erased the deficit in the last moment to reach a tie break that saw 20 points, with Tsitsipas fending off two match points at 6-7 and 8-9 and stealing the breaker 11-9 after a massive forehand error from Jannik.
Leaving the second part of the encounter quickly behind him, Sinner stormed over Tsitsipas in the final set, rattling off 16 straight points on serve and stealing the opponent's serve in games one and three for the crucial advantage.
The Italian broke in the first game with a cracking forehand down the line winner, clinching another break and holding at love for a 4-0 lead. Producing one hold at love after another, Jannik sealed the deal at 5-2, racing over the finish line and setting the clash against Grigor Dimitrov on Friday.
"Stefanos is a very experienced player. I played against him last year here in Rome, and this time I wanted to play my game and move better. In the beginning, I was feeling great, knowing it was his first match on clay.
When I served for the match at 5-3 in the second, I hit one double fault to lose the advantage, with the tie-break that could have gone either way. I tried to make a strong start in the third set. When you are young, you can achieve many things within a year.
I think I have improved everything, especially the serve. I served a little bit better today, changing rotation and everything. Playing against Tsitsipas is never easy. Last year was my first test against a top-10 player, while I knew I had the level to compete better against him today. It was a great match, and I'm thrilled," Jannik Sinner said.