Jannik Sinner’s early career continues to grow rapidly.
The 20-year-old Italian maintained his perfect start to the season on Monday as he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time with a high-quality 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4 win over Alex de Minaur.
The eleventh seed, who has not yet suffered a loss in 2022, put an end to hopes for the Australian men’s singles in Melbourne with a successful fourth round performance to extend his lead in the ATP Head2Head series at world number 42 de Minaur to 3-0. Sinner has dropped just one set en route to the last eight at Melbourne Park.
Sinner captured four tour-level titles in a standout season in 2021, but has so far failed to replicate his 2020 Roland Garros quarterfinal on a major. He nevertheless expressed satisfaction with the way his career has progressed after securing a final eighth place in a major against the Minaur.
“Last year was a long year for me.” Sinner said in his interview at the court after the game. “[I played] many tournaments for the first time. I have gained a lot of experience in the past months. I have grown as a player and also as a person. At 20 you can only grow. I’m very happy to be here in the quarter-finals.”
De Minaur did well, but the 11th-seeded Italian was more clinical at key moments as he sealed the win in two hours and 35 minutes. Sinner has dropped just one set en route to the last eight at Melbourne Park.
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After racking up four break points in the opening set, Sinner roared to an unassailable 6/2 lead in the first set tiebreak. His momentum also brought him an early break in the second, one that proved enough to secure a two-set lead.
The stoic defense of two of the ATP Tour’s exceptional movers made for some memorable rallies. A double-breakdown in the third, Minaur’s best Australian Open run ever, looked to be coming to a peaceful end, but the Australian gathered to win one back.
The Italian showed no sign of nerves, however, as he served to cap off an all-round display in which he won 75 percent (52/69) of points behind his first serve and 81 percent (26/32) of points at the net.
“I think I just served well in the beginning,” Sinner said. “He had more chances than I did in the first set, then I tried to push a bit more, especially in the tiebreak, which maybe made all the difference. Then I went into confidence and I tried to move him a little bit, but it’s very difficult to play against Alex, especially here in Australia. He always plays very, very well.”
After Matteo Berrettini’s win over Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday, Sinner’s win made it only the second time in the Open Era (Roland Garros in 1973) that two Italian men have reached the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam.
The 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Champion now faces the winner of the quarterfinals of the night session between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz. Regardless of his opponent, Sinner will try to break a losing ATP Head2Head record – following the world number 4 Tsitsipas 1-2 and the world number 22 Fritz 0-1.