Sinner seeking for “vendetta” with Italy against Djokovic’s Serbia
MÁLAGA – Less than a week after his loss to Novak Djokovic in the ATP Finals final, Jannik Sinner has a chance for a vendetta.
The Italians and Serbians will decide a finalist after defeating the Dutch and British respectively.
Things got tough for Italy after Matteo Arnaldi’s loss to Botic van de Zandschulp. The Dutch number two took a very tight match after saving three match balls. In the theoretical strategy of the Netherlands, that match could not be lost if they wanted to have a chance to be in the semi-final given the great moment of Sinner, world number 4.
That said: Botic van de Zandschulp, number 51 in the ATP ranking, beat Matteo Arnaldi, 44th, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (7) in a match that lasted more than three hours. The orange fans were celebrating in hope of a 1-0 lead
Sinner, favourite and hero
Sinner, with no margin for error, began to turn the matter around thanks to the great level he showed throughout the year. First, he downed Dutch number one Tallon Griekspoor going to the limit in the first set, defined in sudden death.
Then Griekspoor suffered physical problems and there Sinner did not spare with a 6-1.
With the doubles, Italy to the semi-finals
After a break in which both captains decided who would play the final match of the series, Filippo Volandri and Paul Haarhuis sent their best singles players to the doubles. Sinner teamed up with Lorenzo Sonego; Griekspoor with Wesley Koolhof. and Tallon would take to the court in search of the coveted semi-final berth.
On the sporting side, the match went back and forth and both pairings had opportunities to take the lead with breaks of serve. However, it was the Italian pair who struck first and took the first set. The second set also went to the Italians by 6-4 to close out the elimination and delight the Italian fans.
The Italian pairing of Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego pose the next point // Noventa Estudio
Serbia does not fail
The Serbian team even had the luxury of forgetting the doubles. Serbia’s tennis player and captain Viktor Troicki opted for Miomir Kecmanovic instead of Laslo Djere. A magnificent Kecmanovic took a very complete match against young Jack Draper by a double 7-6. The Briton tried everything but an inspired Kecmanovic closed all the doors to try to get the first point for the British. Like the Netherlands, Great Britain knew that all hopes were pinned on Draper but could not even force a third set that would have cheered the packed stands of Britons who had travelled to the Costa del Sol.
After the 1-0 was the turn for the brand new champion of the ATP Finals. With hardly a break, the world number one dispatched the British number one Cameron Norrie, by a double 6-4.
Novak Djokovic explained in a press conference that this match was very special as the Serb had his close support from his parents, brother and friends. “They give me the energy I need,” he told the press conference with a smile.
Novak Djokovic celebrates a point after a long exchange // Noventa Estudio
He also had words and gestures for the British fans who counted the number of bounces at the end of the first set in a tone of mockery: “It was disrespectful. In competitions like Davis Cup we players have to be prepared for that, but when you hear it at the time, you react. I just wanted to show them that I wasn’t prepared for that.
Finally he pointed to his next opponents and especially Sinner and Italy: “I will play against him three times in just over a week. I saw him in the singles and doubles and he played at a very high level. The matches we had in Turin were good for both of us. It will be a great match.