Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud have established a quarter-final box office success at the Erste Bank Open with huge implications for the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, following their respective second-round victories on Thursday at the ATP 500 tennis tournament in the Austrian capital.
If Sinner defeats Ruud, he will move to Hubert Hurkacz to maintain last place in the Nitto ATP Finals standings and will be 90 points behind Ruud for seventh place. If the Norwegian wins, he will further cement his position on his maiden voyage towards the season finale.
"It's going to be tough. He's in a better position than I am for the Race," Sinner said. "I think now it's hard to say and hard to do because in the end you always try not to think about it, but in the end you think about it because you believe.
You want to go there. If it's not this year, I hope it's next year and if it's not next year, maybe I won't make it, but I do my best in every game I play. I hope it's a high-level match, even if [there is] all the pressure and everything.
But he is a very, very solid player. He doesn't make any mistakes from the baseline. His service has improved a lot. But in the end I'm here because I love tennis." Sinner advanced to the last eight with a 6-4, 6-2 win against wild card Dennis Novak.
The Italian saved all six break points that he won to triumph after one hour and 16 minutes. 2019 ATP Finals champion Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen 2019 won 10 consecutive indoor matches, including titles in Sofia and Antwerp, and did not lose a set in either of them.
Fernando Verdasco recently said Rafael Nadal is the toughest opponent he has faced in his entire career, while joking about how dominant he has been at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal has finally resumed his training
Speaking in an interview with Punto de Break, Fernando Verdasco simply answered "Rafael Nadal" when asked to name his toughest ever opponent.
Even when reminded that he has beaten Nadal thrice, Verdasco insisted that it was still the hardest thing he's ever had to do. "Rafael Nadal has won Roland Garros 1000 times (laughs)," Verdasco said. "The toughest tournament mentally and physically in the world, but other Spaniards have dominated it before, this is seen in the history of tennis."
According to Verdasco, while Nadal may not play as beautifully as Federer, his ability to lift his game at the important junctures sets him apart from everyone else. "Technically it can be more or less showy, everyone says that Roger Federer is the most elegant, the one who plays the most beautiful," Verdasco said.
"Rafa does not play as beautiful as Roger, but Rafa in important moments he arrives from outside the court and hits a forehand on the run from outside the net... and you are stunned.