Australian Open: Jannik Sinner makes winning start

Matteo Arnaldi, Jaume Munar, Pavel Kotov and Francisco Cerundolo advanced

by Jovica Ilic
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Australian Open: Jannik Sinner makes winning start
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The 4th seed Jannik Sinner made a winning start at the Australian Open, besting Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and 34 minutes. The Italian could have played better at Rod Laver Arena, spraying almost 40 unforced errors but doing enough to seal the deal in straight sets.

Jannik played better behind the second serve, defending five out of six break points. He grabbed 42% of the return points and turned them into five breaks from 15 opportunities. Sinner had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range rallies, breaking van de Zandschulp's resistance with three breaks in the third set.

Botic netted a routine forehand in the encounter's first game, losing serve and pushing the 4th seed in front. Jannik denied two break points in the second game, cementing the advantage and opening a 2-0 gap. The Dutch player faced two break points in the fifth game, erasing them and staying within one break deficit.

They served well in the remaining five games, and Jannik held at 15 at 5-4 to wrap up the opener in 46 minutes.

Matteo Arnaldi, Australian Open 2024© Darrian Traynor / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Botic experienced a break point in the second set's first game, with Jannik seeking an early advantage like in the opener.

Instead, van de Zandschulp denied it with a forced error and held, avoiding an early setback and gaining a boost. They served well in the next nine games, with Sinner cracking a backhand winner at 4-5 to prolong the set. The Italian created two break chances in the 11th game and seized the second after the Dutchman's mistake, moving 6-5 in front and serving for the set.

World no. 4 held with a volley winner at the net, wrapping up the set in an hour and forging a massive advantage. Botic survived four break points at the beginning of the third set and broke Jannik at love in game two after the Italian's loose forehand.

Sinner pulled the break back in game three, reducing the deficit and holding after deuce in the next one for 2-2. Van de Zandschulp netted a routine forehand in the fifth game, losing serve at 15 and pushing world no. 4 in front.

Jannik Sinner passed the opening obstacle at the Australian Open.

They both played against break points in games six and seven, denying them and remaining within one break difference. After a couple of challenging service games, Jannik fired a service winner in game eight, opening a 5-3 gap and forcing his rival to serve to stay in the match.

Sinner clinched another break after Van de Zandschulp's loose forehand, sealing the deal and moving into the second round. Jaume Munar will compete in the Australian Open second round for the second time following a rock-solid display.

The Spaniard took down Alexander Schevchenko 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 55 minutes. Munar's first serve worked like a charm, saving three out of four break points and keeping the pressure on the other side. Jaume grabbed 44% of the return points and delivered six breaks from 15 opportunities.

Munar raced into a 3-0 lead in the opener and created seven more break chances in game four. Schevchenko denied them and held for 1-3 before earning two break points in game five. Munar saved them and clinched another break in game six for a 5-1 advantage.

The Spaniard served for the set in game seven and got broken for the first and only time. Alexander saved a set point on serve in game eight, reducing the deficit to 5-3. Jaume served for the set in game nine and held at 30 to wrap up the set after almost an hour.

The Spaniard barely lost a point on serve in the second set, keeping the pressure on the other side. He broke the Russian in the first game and closed the set with another break at 5-3, forging a massive advantage. Jaume kept his serve at a high level in the third set, rattling off five games from 1-1 and sailing over the top.

Matteo Arnaldi celebrated his first Australian Open win after ousting Adam Walton 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 36 minutes. The Italian fired 16 aces and got broken two times.

Francisco Cerundolo, Australian Open 2024© Kelly Defina / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

He delivered five breaks, trailing 6-5 with a break in the opener before performing a comeback.

Arnaldi clinched the tie break 7-5, gaining a boost and dominating set number two. Walton lost serve at the beginning of the third set and failed to pull it back despite a couple of chances, propelling his opponent into the second round.

The 22nd seed Francisco Cerundolo barely passed a qualifier Dane Sweeny, prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in three hours and 23 minutes. Sweeny fought well, breaking the better-ranked opponent four times and losing serve five times, ending his resistance in the decider and missing a chance to celebrate in front of the home fans.

In another five-setter, Pavel Kotov ousted Arthur Rinderknech 7-5, 6-1, 6-7, 6-7, 6-3 after four hours and 42 minutes. The Frenchman started a massive comeback in the third set, clinching two tie breaks before losing ground in the decider.

Jannik Sinner Jaume Munar Pavel Kotov
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