Jannik Sinner entered the winners circle on Sunday capturing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the National Bank Open. The Italian produced a lights out hitting display in Toronto to earn a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Alex de Minaur in one hour and 30 minutes.
The 21-year-old, seeded seventh, has eight tour victories, also winning at Montpellier in February. He’s the second Italian to be a Masters 1000 champion, the other being Fabio Fognini at Monte Carlo in 2019.
Sinner was 0-2 previously in ATP Masters 1000 finals, both in Miami. He lost to Hubert Hukacz two years ago and to Daniil Medvedev this April. Coming from 4-4 in the first set against de Minaur, the Italian won eight of the last nine games to become the youngest winner in Canada since Alexander Zverev. He also became the second Italian Masters 1000 champion since the tier of event began in 1990.
Being the first Italian to win the event, Sinner said during his on-court interview, “In the second set I played a little bit better. I raised the level a little and I tried to stay a little more aggressive. I am very happy about my level today.”
Sinner’s aggressive and driven tennis playstyle in Toronto also earned him victories against Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils and Tommy Paul. Sunday’s win against de Minaur cemented his fourth-place position in the Pepperstone
Sinner overwhelmed Alex De Minaur. Sinner broke De Minaur’s serve five times in the 90-minute match. While the scoreline may suggest this was a cake walk for Jannik Sinner, it was anything but to begin with. The opening set was full of extended rallies. De Minaur initially got the better of the 9+ shot exchanges.
The Italian broke early and gained a 2-0 lead, but was quickly put on ice by De Minaur at 2-2. Again, Sinner broke and held, before De Minaur broke back and evened out the score. Despite this, from 4-4 the Italian raised his depth and precision. He outmaneuvered against the Australian to gain the fifth and ultimately decisive break of the set to lead the match.
Constantly playing catch-up proved to be too exhausting for De Minaur, who was unable to break back to stay in the first set, going down 6-4. De Minaur had played error-free tennis the entire tournament and thrived in longer rallies.
Things couldn’t have been more different in the second set. Sinner was playing confident tennis, hitting with no pressure for a total of 14 winners. He even dominated the longer rallies, winning 10-7 in the 9+ shot rallies, and dominated the shorter exchanges 27-14.
After breaking at 2-1, Sinner never looked in his rearview mirror. He won eight of the final nine games to lift the trophy in Toronto.
De Minaur had never reached the quarter-finals at a Masters 1000 event before this week. Still, the Australian who lost in the title match in Los Cabos last week, overcame big names like Cam Norrie, Taylor Fritz and Daniil Medvedev to reach consecutive tour-level finals for the first time in his career. De Minaur is up five places to 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as a result of his Toronto streak.
“It was a breakthrough week for me,” De Minaur said. “I had a nice week here in Toronto. I played some great tennis and it gave me a taste of it. My maiden [Masters 1000] final and I will be back.”
Sinner’s heavy-hitting game is perfectly suited for hard courts and many of the other favorites at this year’s US Open have had questionable preparation so far. With Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev losing early in Toronto and Novak Djokovic not participating, Cincinnati becomes a crucial week for those looking to grab some confidence heading into the US Open.
The Italian can breathe easy and play some care-free tennis at the Cincinnati Masters, knowing that he’s already in great shape ahead of the year’s final Grand Slam.
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Featured Image courtesy of National Bank Open
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