Facing each other for the second time, Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner played a high-quality clash at Foro Italico on Wednesday night. The more experienced player beat the youngster 7-5, 6-4 in the Rome Open second round, enduring all the obstacles and prevailing after two hours and ten minutes.
Rafa lost serve thrice and secured five breaks to cross the finish line first, overcoming a break deficit twice in the opener and bouncing back from 4-2 down in set number two to prevail and avoid an early exit. Sinner gave his best to challenge the mighty opponent like in Paris last year, failing to impose his shots and produce better numbers in his games.
The youngster was disappointed to lose in straight sets, saying they both played on a high level and that he lacked the extra gear to present a more favorable result and fight for victory. "The mentality is obviously the most important part of this sport.
I knew that I could play good or quite well against Rafa at Roland Garros for many reasons. There I showed it for one set. This time, I knew that I could do something more, and I walked on the court more confident about my weapons.
I'm improving and trying to have more weapons every tournament I play and more solutions for every problem. This is the point that we are working on, and there we have to improve a bit more. It's a lesson, which is tough to accept, but I will take it for sure because I have to get better.
Jannik Sinner shared thoughts about Rafael Nadal loss in Rome.
I'm especially disappointed and sad after this loss because I think we both played quite a high-level match. Now it's tough to accept that I'm already out because I was a break up in the first set and once in the second.
It's tough to accept because Roland Garros was more like a test to see where I'm, and this time I knew that I could have, and maybe should have done something more. When I lose, I always try to draw positive things and find what I should have done better.
Obviously, right now, it's tough to talk about the match; twenty minutes ago, I was still on the court. I'm still playing a bit in my head what I should have done better in some exact points. It's tough right now, to be honest, because playing here, in Rome, it's quite a special tournament, especially for Italians.
If I had won today, tomorrow would have been a bit of a crowd. I love to play in front of crowds. Rafa handled the tough moments better than me, like the last time in Paris. There are lessons that I can learn. We have to come together with my team and watch this match many times.
Then we will see what we should have done better. If I compare my game against Djokovic in Monte Carlo with today, I have improved many things. Today is a day that hurts, that it will not even make me sleep well at night," Jannik Sinner said.