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Sinner saves match points to reach Dubai second round in first match with new coach

Sinner came from a set down to beat 43rd ranked Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to set up a second round showdown with Andy Murray at the ATP 500 in Dubai

Italy's Jannik Sinner reacts during his first round match against Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Dubai Tennis Championships Italy’s Jannik Sinner reacts during his first round match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Dubai Tennis Championships Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

ATP 500 DubaiResults | Schedule

Playing his first match since his split from long-time coach Riccardo Piatti, Italian Jannik Sinner saved three match points in the second set tiebreaker to beat Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in three sets and reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Sinner started off the match slow in his first match since his good outing in Australia where he won all three singles matches at the ATP Cup and reached his second Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open.

Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reacts during his first round match against Italy's Jannik Sinner at the Dubai Tennis Championships
Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reacts during his first round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner at the Dubai Tennis Championships Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Davidovich Fokina, a player just two years older than him and ranked 43rd in the world, had too much firepower for the lanky Italian in the first set. After both players managed to hold through the first nine games, Davidovich Fokina broke Sinner’s serve in the 10th game to claim the first set 6-4.

The Spaniard hit 78% of first serves in and won 81 percent of those points as compared to 63 percent and 74 percent for Sinner respectively.

In the second set, Davodioch Fokina fought off a break point in the first game and then broke Sinner in the sixth game to go ahead 4-2. That’s when the young Italian started to claw his way back into the match.

Sinner saves three match points in the second set tiebreaker

Sinner broke back to level the match at 4-4 and pulled Fokina into a tiebreak. The Spaniard held three match points at 6-3. However, the 20-year-old Italian fought back once again to level the tiebreaker at 6-6 and then win it 8-6.

In the final set, the Italian broke Fokina’s serve in the sixth game. That one break was good enough for him to win the final set and complete the 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win in two hours and 31 minutes.

Sinner will next meet former world No 1 Andy Murray in the second round. The Brit has won their only previous meeting – a straight sets victory in Stockholm in November last year.

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