Rafael Nadal's Legacy, Jannik Sinner's Ascent: A Tale of Masters 1000 Dominance

Jannik Sinner dropped seven games in the closing stages of the Miami Masters

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal's Legacy, Jannik Sinner's Ascent: A Tale of Masters 1000 Dominance
© Brennan Asplen / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Winning a Masters 1000 title has never been easy, with many rivals from the top seeking the trophy. The feat becomes even more challenging if someone wants to dominate the last two matches and overpower his semi-final and final opponents in style!

Jannik Sinner did that in Miami a week ago, lifting his second Masters 1000 trophy following a rock-solid display in the closing stages. Thus, the Italian joined Rafael Nadal on the list of the most dominant performances in the latter scenes at a Masters 1000 level, dropping seven games against Daniil Medvedev and Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal had an incredible run in Monte Carlo 2010, giving away 14 games in ten sets and achieving something no one will ever repeat.

Jannik Sinner, Miami 2024© Elsa / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafa demolished all the rivals en route to the semi-final and faced his compatriot David Ferrer.

The king of clay scored a 6-2, 6-3 win in an hour and 15 minutes, reaching his sixth straight final in the Principality. Rafa lost serve two times and grabbed six breaks, having the upper hand on serve and return and sailing into the title clash.

Nadal saved his best tennis for the title clash, dismantling another compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in an hour and 26 minutes, celebrating the title in style. Rafa faced five break points in his last service game, defending them and keeping his initial shot intact.

The defending champion stole 64% of the return points and turned them into six breaks from 14 opportunities, dominating both sets and sailing toward his sixth consecutive Monte Carlo title. Verdasco dropped the crucial points against a focused rival, suffering a bagel in the opener and taking only one game in set number two.

Rafa led 22-18 in the winners department, which would not be enough to secure such a dominant win. Nadal hit nine unforced errors, while Verdasco counted 25, missing equally from both wings. Fernando added 14 forced mistakes against Rafa's seven, bringing the overall tally to 39 loose shots versus Nadal's 16!

Also, the defending champion had a 19-5 advantage in the most extended rallies, toppling his rival in that area and lifting the trophy in style. Fourteen years later, Jannik Sinner repeated those numbers in Miami after two rock-solid triumphs.

Jannik Sinner, Miami 2024© Brennan Asplen / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Jannik Sinner conquered the Miami Masters title in style.

Sinner faced world no. 4 Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final and earned a 6-1, 6-2 win in 69 minutes, avenging last year's title clash defeat.

The Italian saved all three break points and grabbed over half of the return points, delivering four breaks and sailing into the title clash. The Australian Open champion made a furious start, securing two breaks at the beginning of the duel and landing a service winner in game five for 5-0 in 27 minutes.

Sinner held at love at 5-1, wrapping up the opener after 33 minutes and hoping for more in the second set. Jannik broke early and extended the lead to 4-1 after Daniil's loose backhand in game five. The Italian held at 5-2, sealing the deal and reaching his third Miami Open final.

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2010© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Sinner faced Grigor Dimitrov and secured a 6-3, 6-1 victory in an hour and 13 minutes, lifting his second Masters 1000 crown at 22. Jannik continued where he left off against Daniil, taming his strokes nicely and staying below ten unforced errors.

Dimitrov played aggressive tennis but could not remain competitive, losing ground from the baseline and making 23 mistakes against the ATP Race leader. Jannik dropped ten points in his games, keeping the pressure on the other side.

He took 44% of the return points and grabbed four breaks from eight opportunities. Grigor made a reliable start with two fine holds and created a break chance at 2-1 with a forehand down the line winner. He squandered it with a loose forehand, allowing Jannik to level the score at 2-2 and avoid an early setback.

Sinner made a push on the return in game five, securing a break with a forehand winner and building the advantage. Jannik held for 4-2 and challenged his rival on the return in the next one. Dimitrov saved break points and stayed within one break deficit before Sinner forged a 5-3 advantage.

The Italian created a set point on the return in game nine and painted a backhand down the line winner, notching the opener in 42 minutes. Jannik delivered four fine holds in the second set and kept the pressure on the other side.

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo 2010© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Dimitrov wasted a 40-15 lead in the fourth game and missed a backhand, losing serve and falling 3-1 behind. Sinner cemented the lead with a hold at 15, opening a 4-1 gap and placing one hand on the trophy.

Grigor played a loose smash in the sixth game, getting broken again and drifting further from a positive result. Jannik served for the title at 5-1 and made no errors, creating three match points with an unreturned serve. Sinner sealed the deal on the first, landing a backhand down the line winner and celebrating the title in style.

Rafael Nadal Jannik Sinner