Rising Italian star Jannik Sinner is happy with his 2021 season as he insists every week he is trying to learn something new. Sinner, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 14 in the world, made a positive start to his Sofia campaign on Thursday.
Sinner, seeded at No. 1 in the Sofia main draw, had a first round bye at the tournament before he saw off world No. 112 Egor Gerasimov 6-2 7-6 (3). "I think this year what I have done was good, with some ups and downs," said Sinner.
"Every week when I play it's trying to understand something new, trying to learn something new."
Sinner handled Gerasimov
Sinner saved three break points in the opening game of the match, before claiming the first break of the match in the second game.
Gerasimov had two break points in the seventh game but again failed to capitalize on his chances. In the following game, Sinner earned his second break of the match to win the opener. Sinner saved a break point in the third game of the second set but also failed to realize a break point in the sixth game.
Gerasimov claimed his first break of the match in the ninth game but failed to serve out for the set in the 10th game. Gerasimov was on the verge of losing his serve in back-to-back games but he saved two match points in the 12th game to force a tie-break.
The key moment of the tie-break was Sinner winning four consecutive points to take a 5-2 lead. Sinner then realized his third match point to escape with a straight-set win. Sinner, who made it all the way in Sofia last year, plays next James Duckworth.
Duckworth ended runner-up at the Astana Open last week. "I'm trying to play my best tennis," Sinner said. "Obviously it's not going to be easy, but I'm very happy to be back here."