In the last couple of seasons, Jannik Sinner has been a teenager to beat on the ATP Tour. In 2018, the super talented Italian reached the first Futures final, seeking much better results in the following season. From outside the top-500, Jannik stormed over the rest of the field to crack the top-100 in November 2019, making a name for himself and earning a perfect starting position ahead of 2020.
Sinner conquered the first Challenger title on an indoor hard court in Bergamo in February 2019, adding the Futures crown to his tally a week later, also on the fast surface. By the end of the year, Jannik would win two more Challenger crowns, make a Major debut at the US Open and reach the first ATP semi-final in Antwerp.
Entering the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan with a wild card, Jannik left older and more experienced players behind him to celebrate the title, focusing on the ATP events in 2020 and gathering experience in this plagued season.
Heading to Roland Garros with six wins from 14 encounters, Sinner found his A-game on his debut in Paris, beating four rivals to advance into the quarter-final as the first player born in 2001 at Majors. Jannik became the first quarter-finalist on Roland Garros debut since Rafael Nadal in 2005, facing the great Spaniard and suffering a straight-sets loss.
WTA legend Chris Evert was pleased with what she saw from Jannik in Paris, praising his tennis IQ and saying he could challenge Nadal on faster surfaces in the future. The youngster gave his best against the 12-time Roland Garros champion in the opening two sets, only to suffer a 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat in two hours and 48 minutes.
It was Nadal's 98th win in Paris from 100 encounters, advancing into the 13th semi-final of his beloved Major.
Chris Evert liked what she saw from Jannik Sinner against Rafael Nadal.
A teenager proved to be a much more formidable rival than Nadal's previous four opponents, challenging a great champion in the lastest Roland Garros finish ever, as they stayed on the court until almost 1:30 am.
Sinner gave his best in sets one and two, losing ground after that and completing his first Roland Garros campaign in the last eight. Rafa got broken twice and stole the youngster's serve six times, firing 37 winners and 33 unforced errors to emerge at the top in straight sets.
Jannik had a 6-5 advantage in the opener, serving for the set but giving it away, as Nadal reached the tie break and claimed it 7-4. They stayed neck and neck until the ninth game of the second set when Rafa moved in front, gathering boost and never looking back in the third.
"Jannik seems to have such great court awareness and great tennis IQ. The thing is, he might do a bit more damage against Rafa on a faster court because he is a powerful player with a big serve," Chris Evert said.