He is the youngest of all. But it is already one of the most impressive. At 19, Jannik Sinner created a surprise this Sunday on the Suzanne Lenglen court by putting Alexander Zverev, seed number 6 and recent US Open finalist on the ropes. The Italian took advantage of the apathy of the German, still too irregular, to win in four sets (6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3) and scratch his first quarterback ticket in Grand Slam. He will play him against Rafael Nadal in an intriguing Clash of Generations.
Nothing stops Jannik Sinner. Not even the loss of his first set in this Roland Garros. After leaving the third round to Alexander Zverev, the Italian went back to the ground. He thus made the break from the start of the fourth round and never gave up his advantage to reach his first quarter-final in the Grand Slam after a 3:01 game. Faced with a player who takes maximum risk with each strike, Zverev has chosen to wait. Evil took him. Because, in addition to making fewer winning shots than his opponent (20 against 39), he committed an almost equivalent number of unforced errors (47 against 56).
To the Nadal challenge
Caught in the throat, without a bad pun for the one who rightly complained of a sore throat in the middle of the first set, the German was constantly far from his line, contenting himself to deliver the most possible while hoping for the opponent’s fault. A tactic which will therefore only have paid off in the third set where Sinner will have shown signs of nervousness (22 unforced errors, 4 double faults). At 19, the Italian, already winner of Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rome, has never shown any signs of doubt. His responsiveness at the start of the fourth set was impressive.
He restarted as if nothing had happened with his heavy strikes, forehand and backhand. The only weak point in his game, the amortization. On several occasions, he tried to break the rhythm of the exchange but his touching game could still be improved. As Zverev had no intention of putting pressure on him in the exchange, he was able to calmly put his game in place to sign one of the most beautiful victories of his career. For his first quarter-final in a Grand Slam, he will face Rafael Nadal. Who will not hesitate to punish the mistakes of his young opponent. If he wants to achieve a monumental feat, Sinner will have to show more consistency in his game.
Yannik Sinner at Roland-Garros (2020)
Credit: Getty Images