The 19-year-old Jannik Sinner claimed the first ATP title in Sofia on Saturday, becoming the youngest ATP champion since Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach 2008! In the title clash, a teenager defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and 14 minutes, becoming the youngest Italian champion in the Open era.
Sinner is the 12th teenager with an ATP title since 2005, achieving it after only three professional seasons and wrapping up the year in the top-40, 12 months after the ATP Next Gen Finals crown. Vasel gave his 120% to prevail against the youngster and become the first-time champion himself, winning four points more and fending off three out five break opportunities, just like Jannik.
Still, Sinner held nerves in the decisive moments, crossing the finish line first and wrapping up the season on a high note. The Italian fended off the only break chance in the opening set, providing an early break that carried him through.
The Canadian faced three break chances in the opening game, fending them off to avoid a setback. Jannik held at 1-1 with a forehand winner and forced Vasek's error in game three to grab a break and forge the advantage.
The youngster repelled a break chance in the next one with a service winner, landing another to bring the game home and move 3-1 ahead. Sinner placed an unreturned serve in game six and a forehand winner at 4-3, closing the set with an ace down the T line in game ten.
A teenager grabbed an early break in set number two before Pospisil produced his best tennis, pulling a break back at love in game two to extend his chances.
Jannik Sinner wants to win many more titles in the future.
Jannik netted an easy backhand to fall 4-2 down, showing first signs of frustration and losing the set when Vasek held at love in game nine with a booming serve.
Sinner fended off two break chances at the beginning of the final set, settling into a fine rhythm on serve after that to follow Vasek's pace. At 4-4, Pospisil sprayed a forehand error at 30-15 that could have earned two break chances for him, with Sinner closing the game to remain in contention.
Jannik won all five points behind the initial shot in the tie break and earned two mini-breaks for 7-3, crossing the finish line and celebrating the first ATP crown. "It was a tough match. I played well, especially in the first set; then I started to struggle a bit.
Vasek was playing maybe better than me. It is a nice feeling to win the first title, just like I did at the ATP Next Gen Finals last November. I felt well the whole week here in Sofia; it is beautiful to play here, and the crowd was amazing.
It is never easy to play against Vasek. There are some games when he is serving well, and you can't touch any ball. I was up a set and a break. You know, there are games that you don't play the way you wanted. I just tried to stay positive, and it wasn't easy.
I felt the pressure, even before the match. I'm pleased with the result. When you win a tough encounter in the deciding tie break, it feels better than scoring a 6-1, 6-1 triumph. Now, I have to work hard again at the beginning of 2021 and make a better start than 2020.
I hope this is the first of many titles, and the feeling is unique. I felt at home this week, with a great crowd and people around me," Jannik Sinner said.