ATP Monte Carlo: Jannik Sinner makes convincing start. Andrey Rublev bows out

Jannik Sinner lost three games against Sebastian Korda

by Jovica Ilic
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ATP Monte Carlo: Jannik Sinner makes convincing start. Andrey Rublev bows out
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Playing his first match as world no. 2, Jannik Sinner made a convincing start at the Monte Carlo Masters. The Italian faced Sebastian Korda in the second round and scored a dominant 6-1, 6-2 win in an hour and 15 minutes. Both players struggled to find the first serve, and only one player suffered from that fact.

Sinner denied three break points in his first service game of the match, keeping his initial shot intact and mounting the pressure on the other side. Korda could not follow that pace, dropping over half of the points in his games and suffering five breaks from 12 chances offered to his opponent.

Jannik had a massive advantage in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, taming his strokes nicely and sailing into the last 16.

Jannik Sinner, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Italian landed a backhand crosscourt winner in the first game of the encounter and seized a break chance after the American's costly double fault.

Sinner faced three break points in the second game and denied them (two with service winners) to cement the lead and keep his serve intact. Jannik opened a 3-1 lead with a forehand winner in game four and earned two break points in the next one.

Sebastian denied them but failed to bring the game home after squandering three game points. Sinner created the third break point and seized it after Korda's forehand error, extending the gap and moving 4-1 in front. Jannik clinched the sixth game with a service winner and delivered his third break a few minutes later, taking the opener 6-1 after 39 minutes.

Carried by this boost, Sinner barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the second set, mounting the pressure on the other side. Korda could not endure it, struggling in three service games and hitting the exit door after getting broken two times.

Sebastian experienced four break points in the second game, denying them and holding with a forehand down the line winner, avoiding an early setback. Jannik produced another fine hold in the third game and made a push on the return in the next one.

The Italian seized the second break point after the American's loose forehand, forging the lead and opening a 3-1 advantage. World no. 2 landed a service winner in the fifth game, extending the gap and moving closer to the finish line.

Jannik Sinner, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Jannik Sinner made a flying start in Monte Carlo.

Korda landed a backhand wide in the seventh game, falling 5-2 behind and serving to stay in the match in the next one.

Sinner painted a forehand crosscourt winner, creating two match points and seizing the first after the rival's mistake, sailing into the next round. Unlike Jannik, the defending champion Andrey Rublev had a much worse day at the office.

The 6th seed fell to Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes, extending his poor run. Popyrin served at 50% and did his best to defend the initial shot and mount the pressure on the other side. The Aussie denied five out of six break points and clinched three return games from eight opportunities.

Alexei Popyrin, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

They stayed neck and neck in the shortest and most extended rallies, and Alexei built the advantage in the mid-range exchanges for one of his best results on clay.

The defending champion made a convincing hold in the first game of the encounter and created two break chances in game two. Popyrin denied them with winners and closed the game with a forehand down the line attack. Alexei attacked in the third game and fired a forehand crosscourt return winner for a break and a 2-1 advantage.

The lower-ranked player cemented the break with a fine hold in game four and moved 4-2 in front after a service winner. Andrey erased a break point in the seventh game with a backhand crosscourt winner, holding and remaining within one break deficit.

Popyrin grabbed the eighth game with a powerful serve and made another push on the return in the next one. Alexei created two set points after a lucky net cord winner, and Andrey denied them with unreturned serves. The Aussie served for the opener at 5-4 and closed it after the Russian's backhand error, building the advantage after 52 minutes.

Rublev made a solid start to the second set, landing a forehand winner for 1-0. The defending champion faced two break points in the third game, challenging his frustration and landing two service winners to take them away.

Popyrin finally lost the ground behind the initial shot in the fourth game, spraying a couple of errors and getting broken to fall 3-1 behind.

Andrey Rublev, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Instead of building on that, Andrey sprayed a backhand error in the fifth game, bringing his rival back to the positive side.

Alexei saved two break points in the sixth game, closing it and taking charge. The Aussie closed the eighth game with a forehand crosscourt winner and earned break points in the next one. Popyrin seized the first with a backhand winner, moving 5-4 up and serving for the win in game ten.

Alexei netted a forehand and offered Andrey one last chance to prolong the battle. The younger player denied it with a service winner and forced the rival's mistake for a match point. Rublev netted a routine forehand, smashing his racquet in anger and propelling Popyrin over the top.

Jannik Sinner Andrey Rublev Sebastian Korda
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