New Straits Times
Sinner is Next Gen champ
MILAN: Italian teenager Jannik Sinner admitted he felt like Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal as he basked in the spotlight after defeating top-seed Australian Alex de Minaur in straight sets to win the Next Gen ATP Finals on home soil in Milan on Saturday.
The 18-year-old Sinner, an eighth-seeded wildcard, saved nine break points to win 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 in just over an hour against 18th-ranked De Minaur, who also lost last year’s final to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The tournament, which began in 2017, features the eight best players aged 21-and-under on the ATP Tour.
And Sinner came in as a late wild card after a season when he rose almost 500 places to break into the Top 100.
The player from the north of Italy, near the border with Austria, was basking in the spotlight at the hysterical support from the home crowd.
“I don’t know if Roger or Rafa are still enjoying these kind of things
“It’s been an unbelievable week,” continued the 95thranked Italian, who beat another top 20 ranked player France’s Gael Monfils last month en route to the semi-finals in Antwerp.
It was the first meeting between De Minaur and Sinner.
But the Italian, the youngest competitor in this year’s tournament, brushed aside his Australian rival dubbed ‘Speed Demon’, who had captured his first three ATP Tour titles in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai.