August 13, 2023 00:19
TORONTO — They started the National Bank Open on the same field. Teammates aim for exponential success. But on Sunday, Jannik Sinner and Alex de Minaur will find themselves on opposite sides of Center Court, facing each other in a battle to be the last man standing on the vacant podium.
The two men, whose double bid ended in the first round, with finalists Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo each winning the final day with victories over their respective opponents on Saturday. Matched his semifinals, defeating his unmatched opponent Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Sinner also demonstrated his precision, poise and powerful forehand in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Tommy Paul.
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Although his doubles duty is far from his mind when he hits the field on Sunday. But Sinner admitted he was familiar with his final foe.
“We know each other quite well,” he said, adding that they had occasionally trained together in Monaco. “We have faced each other a few times. We know what to expect. He’s as good as me and you know, it’s good that we can use the pitch together for important trophies.
“It will definitely be a difficult challenge. But I love taking on these challenges.”
Of course, their double relationship isn’t the only thing these young stars have in common. Neither player has ever won a Masters 1000 event on the ATP Tour, and both feel like they’re on the brink of breaking point. Knock on the door — or perhaps in de Minaur’s case, make the most of this window he’s opened. and Showing the tennis world why he deserves to stay here.
De Minaur feels right at home in Canada. The 24-year-old Australian played the best tennis of his career at the National Bank Open this week, and his performance in Saturday’s inaugural Masters 1000 semi-final ensured his time in Toronto was yet to come.
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“As far as I can see I might have to become Canadian eventually,” he quipped after the race. The comments garnered a thunderous applause from the fans (it’s safe to say he’s more of a fix than the home crowd since defeating young Canuck Gabriel Diallo on Wednesday).
“I love my time here. I had a bad week,” he said. “It was a breakthrough that I always knew I had inside of me.”
In a tournament full of disappointments de’s path outstanding minar His Canadian campaign kicked off with a victory over world number 13 Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. And after beating Diallo in the round of 32, he took down two of his top 10 opponents, Taylor Fritz, ranked ninth in the world and number eight in the NBO, followed by world number 3 Daniil Medvedev in the previous round. de Minaur’s first runner-up at the Masters 1000, his finals appearance marked the third year in a row. and the fourth time in the past five years of the tournament. in which players who are not in any position advance to the final match
Davidovich Fokina also killed the tennis giant on his way to Saturday’s semi-finals. It was his second career ATP Masters 1000 semi-final appearance. The world No. 37, coming into this week, had a strong showing in Toronto. Thanks in large part to the game, returning to his tournament lead. The Spaniard beat world number four Casper Ruud of Norway in the round of 16 but appeared exhausted on Saturday. with 22 unintentional errors compared to de Minauer made it 4 times, although his week overall was positive. But he referred to Saturday’s performance as “a stunner.” “It was a terrible day in the office.”
Indeed, the semi-finals between de Minaur-Davidovic Fokina, a quick 77-minute duel between two outfield players. Not quite as beautiful — the windy weather to be sure — but sometimes definitely enjoyable. With a long rally and a tight race especially in the second set
“I just tell myself that no matter what happens, I will compete for every point, stay positive and not fret over the result. And I’m going to give myself the best chance to stay strong mentally,” said de Minar, who broke Davidovic Fokina’s serve seven times, all but once. and crushed every effort of David Fokina to effectively create something resembling a comeback. But it was his mental game that stood out the most to him.
“I think that was probably what won me today,” he said.
As for Sinner, you can credit many parts of his game for his victory, such as his invincible demeanor. his laser beam forehand It was his ability to stomp an American opponent just 24 hours earlier that upset world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
and after the battle on Saturday No one will question the Italian’s patience. In game six of the second set, with Sinner leading 4-2, he and Paul put on a show that left the fans breathless: a thrilling 46 salvo that (finally) was Sinner’s favourite. When Paul’s shot goes a long way
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When asked after the race how he felt when he won the rally marathon, Synner summed it up in just one word:
“Tired,” he said with a smile.
Neither de Minaur nor Sinner have ever won an ATP Masters 1000 event, making this year’s NBO a big milestone for both. Sunday will bring Sinner’s third career finals appearance at this level, but this is a first for de Minaur.
“It’s no secret that I’ve been wanting to get on this stage for the past couple of years, you know, I’ve been in the top 20 in the world for the last four years and pretty consistent. And did you know that there are many benefits in this regard? but at the same time I would like to push more,” said de Minaur, “and I think this step is just a process in the big tournaments. That’s the biggest difference. That’s where you can get all the points and where you can make the big jumps. in bigger tournaments Then everything started to click.
“So I think I’m on the right track and yes, hopefully this is this week.”
A sinner who no doubt hopes that the third time will be a charm. share similar feelings
“It’s another big challenge for me. It’s another chance,” he said. And I’m glad…to have another chance tomorrow.”
He continued: “I’ve been in this situation a few times. So I know the feeling before an important final. which is good
“And hopefully tomorrow I can show this.”
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