Jannik Sinner had to work hard on Saturday to secure his place in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time, past the Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 at the Kia Arena. .
The eleventh seed blew through his first two games in straight sets against Joao Sousa and Steve Johnson in Melbourne. But he found it much harder against an inspired Daniel, who was fresh off an impressive win over former world champion Andy Murray.
“I am very happy with my race wins [this week]Sinner said at his post-match press conference. “But speaking of today’s game, it was a tough game for me. I didn’t know him that well. I started well, but then I made some casual mistakes and he increased his level and didn’t miss many balls in the second set. It wasn’t the most clinical achievement, but I’m through to the second week.”
After a strong start, Sinner, who makes his third appearance at Melbourne Park, had no response to Daniel’s powerful blow in the second set, who struggled to find his reach from the baseline.
However, with the pressure on, the Italian successfully shifted into top gear in the third and fourth sets and hit the ball with more aggression and consistency to advance into their first ATP Head2Head meeting at two hours 41 minutes. .
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The 20-year-old will then take on the world’s number 83 Pablo Andujar or the 32nd seeded Australian Alex de Minaur. With his win, Sinner is the first man since Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009 to advance to the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the fourth time before turning 21 years old. The 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion reached the last 16 at Roland Garros and the US Open in 2021, with his best finish coming in a big coming in Paris in 2020, as he advanced to the quarter-finals.
Sinner, who sacked 57 winners against Daniel, enjoyed a standout season in 2021, winning four tour-level titles before making his debut as a substitute at the Nitto ATP Finals on home soil in Turin.
In an entertaining match, Sinner took time away from Daniel in the first set when he grabbed the ball early to outsmart the world’s number 120. He broke three times in the set to get ahead but was unable to extend his lead at the start of the second set as Daniel increased his intensity.
The 28-year-old made just six unforced errors in the set to tie the score, but was unable to stay with the Italian in the third set, with Sinner taking the crucial break in game eight. The world No. 10 then held out to close out the set at the service, before storming to victory when he finally broke Daniel’s resilience.
Daniel aimed to reach the fourth round in a major for the first time in what was his 18th appearance at a Grand Slam.