“He loves the conditions here” – Sinner wary of Tsitsipas threat ahead of Monte-Carlo clash

The Italian will take on two-time champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in their ninth encounter when they meet in the Monte-Carlo semi-finals

Jannik Sinner, Monte-Carlo, 2024 Jannik Sinner, Monte-Carlo, 2024 Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters •Semi-final • completed
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Over the past six months, Jannik Sinner has methodically turned the tables on the head-to-head record of most of his high-profile rivalries.

A 2-0 deficit to Holger Rune has become 2-2, a 3-0 losing record to Novak Djokovic has seen the gap closed to 3-4, and – most remarkably of all – a dismal 6-0 losing streak to Daniil Medvedev has now become 6-5.

All of these turnarounds came in the midst of Sinner’s evolution into the most dangerous player on the planet, and they are testament to just how much he has improved in such a short space of time.

Yet there is one head-to-head record he has yet to emphatically overturn.

Stefanos Tsitsipas holds a 5-3 winning advantage over the Italian. While it’s true this has been reduced from 5-1 over the past year, they have not met on a clay court since Rome in 2022.

Tsitsipas in his prime can be formidable on the European dirt. The Greek leads Sinner 3-1 in their clay-court meetings, and the evidence in Monte-Carlo thus far indicates that he is re-finding his very best form on his favoured surface at a tournament where he thrives.

Sinner will face one of the most difficult challenges of his superb season so far when he takes on Tsitsipas in their semi-final clash at the Monte-Carlo Masters this week – and he knows it.

“He loves the conditions here,” was Sinner’s summation of the threat that Tsitsipas poses in a brief post-match press conference following his hard-fought win over Rune.

“Tomorrow is going to be a completely different day, completely different opponent, a player who has won twice here.

“I’m just looking forward for a great match hopefully, and I also hope that tomorrow’s match is going to help me for the future, for the clay season in the future.”

It sounds as though Sinner is looking to garner as much information from Tsitsipas as possible throughout the contest, both about where his own clay-court game is and how to go toe-to-toe with the most accomplished clay-courters.

Despite being highly adept on the surface already, Sinner clearly feels that he is some way off being the best version of himself on clay, and the big results he has enjoyed on hard courts have not yet materialised.

“I think the first tournament on clay, usually you’re always (getting) strange results sometimes, and I’m just happy about the level I played today.

“Because, you know, everything together, I think it was a great match, not only for us players but also for the crowd.

“I hope it can give me confidence for tomorrow.”

monte-carlo clash with tsitsipas one of the toughest tests for sinner this season

Other than a three-set loss to an inspired Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells, Sinner has passed every one of the considerable tasks he has faced this season.

A last-four encounter in Monte-Carlo against two-time champion Tsitsipas will pose an entirely unique challenge for the young Italian.

It will require yet another element of his supremely impressive game to come to fruition, as he seeks to prove he is one of the very best on a clay court as well as on hard.

Given the form he is in, it’d be a brave person to bet against him doing so.

Yet this may be one of the most testing examinations the ever-surging Sinner has faced since the start of his meteoric rise last October.

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