“Matteo, you are an idol” – Sinner dedicates his win over Hurkacz to injured Berrettini

Italy’s Jannik Sinner lifted the spirits of the Torino faithful with a rousing straight-set triumph over Hubert Hurkacz on Tuesday at the ATP Finals.

Jannik Sinner NITTO ATP Finals 2021

2021 ATP Finals, Turin | Draw | Schedule

  • What happened: Jannik Sinner topped Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz on his ATP Finals debut, 6-2, 6-2.
  • Why it matters: Sinner is still alive in the hunt for a semi-final spot, much to the delight of Italian fans in Turin.
  • You will also learn: How Sinner is dedicating his play at the ATP Finals to his injured compatriot Matteo Berrettini.

Jannik Sinner – in as an alternate for the injured Matteo Berrettini – powered past Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday evening in Turin to become the youngest player to win a match on his ATP Finals debut in 21 years. Sinner, who cracked 17 winners against just 15 unforced errors in the 85-minute contest, avenges a loss in the Miami Open final to Hurkacz and keeps alive his chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

He is the youngest player to win a match on his ATP Finals debut since Lleyton Hewitt defeated Pete Sampras in Lisbon in 2000. The Italian can reach the last four at Turin if he tops Daniil Medvedev on Thursday and Hurkacz defeats Alexander Zverev.

Playing for Matteo Berrettini

Sinner is taking his place in the competition due to the fact that Matteo Berrettini was forced to withdraw after suffering an abdominal injury during his match with Zverev on Tuesday. The 20-year-old says he is dedicating his tennis to his compatriot.

“I said before that I’m going to play for him this tournament, because he deserves more than me to be here.”

— Jannik Sinner on Matteo Berrettini.

“In one way it’s a highlight playing here, in the other way it’s not the way you want to play,” said Sinner. “Especially when Matteo is pulling out. He has been unlucky many, many times already in his career and I wish him all the best. I said before that I’m going to play for him this tournament, because he deserves more than me to be here.”

Sinner says he had a feeling that he’d be called into action the moment he saw Berrettini retire from his first round-robin match against Zverev on Sunday in Turin.

“I knew it around five that I would play,” said Sinner. “It was a little bit late but it’s understandable. I was ready to go on court because I’ve seen the match the night before.”

When Sinner signed the camera after his victory, he wrote: “Matteo, you are an idol” in Italian.

Playing at home – an incredible feeling

Sinner says it was an unforgettable experience, playing with so much crowd support in such a prestigious event.

“It is, of course, an incredible feeling,” he said. “Playing here in Italy with thousands of people cheering for you – I just enjoyed the moment, to be honest. I played well, I felt well also in the beginning, in the warmups, so I think it was an incredible match today.”

The Italian never seemed to show any nerves against Hurkacz, and he demonstrated his superiority as an indoor player. Sinner improves to 33-14 lifetime indoors, while Hurkacz drops to 18-22.

Hurkacz struggled from start to finish, hitting 12 winners but committing 28 unforced errors – 13 more than Sinner. He falls to 0-2 on the week, having lost a tough three-setter to Daniil Medvedev on Sunday in Turin.

“I mean, didn’t win many games, so definitely that. I mean, had my opportunities,” Hurkacz said. “Didn’t convert them. I mean, he was playing well today, so, you know, all the credit to him.”

Sinner dominated the short points, and also the long. The Italian won 38 points of 5 or less shots, to 29 for Hurkacz; he claimed 14 of the points that lasted nine or more strokes to just 3 for Hurkacz.

It all added up to a tremendous debut for the world No 11, as he saved all five break points he faced and converted four of the six opportunities he earned to improve to 46-21 on the season.

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