Rising Italian star Jannik Sinner underlined it's extremely tough to play against world No. 2 Rafael Nadal after losing to the Spaniard in the French Open quarterfinal. Sinner, ranked at No. 75 in the world, fought well early on against Nadal but the Spaniard still claimed a straight-set win 7-6 (4) 6-4 6-1.
Sinner, 19, was playing for the first time in his career against 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal. "It's tough against him. He's not missing that much. You have to be with the right balance on court, to don't go too much and not too low.
If you don't go with enough speed, he'll go for the winners or he's going to move me," Sinner said of Nadal, per Nikolaus Fink. Sinner is considered as one of the most promising players from his generation and he is determined to keep working hard and improving.
Last season, the Italian drew lots of positive attention to his name when he made the semifinal in Antwerp and then won the NextGen Finals. "I didn't win anything until now. Okay, NextGen [Finals], it's one tournament.
It's just head down and trying to improve, trying to play hours after hours on court, which I need to do. (...) We will see in 12 months where I am," Sinner said, per Jose Morgado.
Nadal praised Sinner
Nadal was on the verge of losing the first set but he broke back Sinner in the 12th game and then claimed the opener in the tie-break.
The Spaniard then dominated the rest of the match. "I’m very, very happy to be in the semi-finals again here at Roland Garros,” Nadal said on court. “No doubt that this is the most important place for me and the most beautiful place to play.
[I'm] just very, very happy”. After the match, Nadal also spoke highly of Sinner. "Sinner is a very, very young talent with a lot of power, great shots. For two sets it was tough, especially at the end of that first set.
I was lucky to be back from 5-6, having to break him back. The conditions here were a little bit difficult because he was hitting every ball very hard,” Nadal said. “For me it was difficult to pull him out of position. I think in the third set I did much better and I finished playing much more aggressive. That was the only way”.