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Dubai Tennis: Sinner continues his good deeds as rising stars impress again

Jannik Sinner hits a return at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)
Jannik Sinner hits a return at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)

Dubai - Denis Shapovalov, the other rising star in the field, progressed to his 21st ATP quarterfinal in his 200th career match

By James Jose

Published: Wed 17 Mar 2021, 10:39 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Mar 2021, 10:52 PM

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner has been doing some good deeds for himself, of late, on the men’s tour, and the 19-year-old continued to impress, toppling former Dubai champion and fourth seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, to make the last eight of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

World No.32 Sinner, who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open last year, the first debutant to do so since Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2005, defeated world No.11 Agut, winner here in 2018, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 24 minutes, in the third round match, on Centre Court at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre.

Sinner, who's also the youngest quarterfinalist at Roland Garros since Novak Djokovic in 2006, broke Agut in the ninth game of the first set, and although he lost serve in the eighth game, in the second, he earned the crucial break in the 12th game after trading breaks in the sixth and seventh games, in the decider.

He closed out the match with a looping forehand past the 2019 Wimbledon semifinalist.

“Roberto (Bautista Agut) is an incredible player, very solid,” said Sinner, who is seeded 16.

“I am looking for these kind of tough matches in order to improve. I am happy to have won and can play one more match here tomorrow (Thursday),” added the Monte Carlo resident, who won his second ATP 250 title earlier this season in Melbourne and ended last year as the No.1 teenager on the ATP Tour.

Meanwhile, second seed Andrey Rublev of Russia cruised into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over American 15th seed Taylor Fritz, in a late game on Centre Court.

The 23-year-old Rublev broke Fritz in the seventh and ninth games to take the first set in 31 minutes.

The world number eight broke the American twice in the second set as well, in the second and sixth games, and then served out for the match, in the third round that lasted 63 minutes.

Elsewhere, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy continued his dream run by knocking another seed, to enter the quarterfinals.

The 34-year-old veteran, ranked 53 in the world, rallied from a set down to work his way past eighth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4, in the third-round match that lasted two hours and 35 minutes, on Court 1.

Chardy, the Wimbledon boys singles champion in 2005, and a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open in 2013, had knocked out ninth seed Australian Alex de Minaur in three sets, in the second round.

His opening round match too had gone to three sets with the Rotterdam Open quarterfinalist beating Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

“I think today was a big battle again. I feel I gave everything, physically and I’m really happy with my performance,” said Chardy, whose amazing run has seen him reach his fourth quarterfinal of the year.

Meanwhile, third seed Denis Shapovalov, the other rising star in the field, progressed to his 21st ATP quarterfinal in his 200th career match, with a straight-set victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

The 21-year-old Canadian, ranked 12th in the world, beat the 13th seed 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes, in the third-round match.

Shapovalov, who reached the quarterfinals of the US Open last year, will go up against Chardy, in the last eight. Shapovalov leads Chardy 2-0 in head-to-head meetings with both wins coming in 2018.

“When you are growing up, you always imagined and wished for to be as good as possible. But I never imagined to have the run I had so early in my career and I’ve been able to kind of just progress through the years and just get better every year. So, of course, in one way, I cannot believe that this early in my career, I’m able to play so well but on the other side, I’m here now, so I’m just like any other player, I’m just trying to keep going forward and keep getting better and just always trying to improve myself and improve as a player,” Shapovalov said about the milestone.

In a late game, 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 39 minutes.


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