2021 in Review: Jannik Sinner follows Rafael Nadal's numbers in Miami

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2021 in Review: Jannik Sinner follows Rafael Nadal's numbers in Miami

Competing in only his third Masters 1000 tournament, the 19-year-old Jannik Sinner advanced into the title clash in Miami in March! The young gun toppled the experienced Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 28 minutes after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the decider to remain on the title course.

At 19 years and seven months, Jannik became the youngest Masters 1000 finalist since Rafael Nadal in Madrid 2005 and the first teenager to fight for the title at this level since Novak Djokovic in Miami 14 years ago! The Italian had 37 winners and 53 unforced errors, producing an exciting mixture of incredible strokes and basic mistakes to keep the points on his racquet.

Bautista Agut barely hit over ten winners and almost 40 mistakes, losing ground after that initial lead in the deciding set and taking seven points fewer than his young opponent. Sinner saved seven out of ten break chances and grabbed four return games from eight opportunities to move over the top.

The Italian had a slim advantage in the shortest and most extended exchanges, and there was nothing to separate them in the mid-range rallies between five and eight strokes. Jannik made a shaky start and sprayed a massive forehand mistake to lose serve in the encounter's first game.

Bautista Agut fended off two break points in the next one to confirm the advantage and held at love in game four for 3-1.

Jannik Sinner defeated Roberto Bautista Agut for his first Masters 1000 final.

In game six, the youngster broke back at love to level the score at 3-3 and dug deep on his serve to save three break chances and move in front for the first time.

The more experienced player secured a late break at 5-5 when Sinner netted a backhand and clinched the opening set with an ace in game 12 for 7-5 after 51 minutes. Facing three break opportunities at 3-3 in set number two, Sinner delivered brave hitting to get out of jail and extend his chances and gather momentum.

The youngster sent a backhand wide in game eight on a break point and fixed that two games later when he broke Roberto at 15 to take the set 6-4 and force a decider. Starting all over, the Spaniard delivered two comfortable holds at the beginning of the final set and earned a break in game three to forge a 3-1 advantage.

Remaining calm, Jannik broke back at love in game six, held at 15 at 4-4 and sealed the deal a few minutes later thanks to a backhand crosscourt winner for a break at love and a place in the title match.