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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, November 18, 2023


No. 4 Jannik Sinner stopped Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1, to make history as the first Italian man to reach the ATP Finals title match in Turin.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

Tugging on the brim of his baseball cap, Jannik Sinner exuded singular focus and masterful multi-tasking skill.

The Italian No. 1 continues toppling all comers turning the blue Turin hard court into a rousing house party.

More: Medvedev on Rise of Super Young Stars

Sinner kept the party pumping today, fending off Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1, charging into the ATP Finals title match and sending home fans into a frenzy.

The pride of San Candido beat Medvedev for the third time in a row to make his mark as the first Italian man to reach the singles final in the 54-year tournament history.

Turin fans chanted “Ole! Ole! OIe! Sinner! Sinner!” and the red-haired Italian plugged into people power. Sinner served 76 percent and won 16 of 21 points powering through the final set into his seventh final of the season.

"It's great. The atmosphere has been awesome again," Sinner told the media in Turin. "Sharing this moment with Italian fans means a lot to me. We're playing here in Italy. Obviously means a lot for me and also my team.

"I think it was a great match. Obviously very positive, positive emotions."

Afterward, Sinner soaked up the support on court, while his dad, Johann, stood in the support box gazing around the Pala Alpitour listening to fans chant his son's name.

“I think just it is a huge privilege to have this kind of pressure,” Sinner told Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj quoting Billie Jean King. “To play in Italy at such an incredible event. It’s also the end of the year, players are a little bit more tired and the people they give me positive energy.

“I try to connect with the people well. It means a lot to me to be in the final. Obviously, tomorrow is gonna be really, really tough. But it’s a privilege to be here, a privilege to play another final. This season has been a very positive season and a good season, many, many matches and obviously very very happy that I can come out on this court tomorrow for the last time and let’s see how it goes.”

Tomorrow, the 22-year-old Sinner will try to rock the house again facing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final set for 6 p.m. local time that should feature one of the loudest crowds since the tournament was staged in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

In a rematch of the Wimbledon final, Djokovic stopped second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 in tonight's second semifinal. 

Sinner out-dueled Djokovic Tuesday night in a three hour, nine-minute thriller that snapped the Serbian superstar's 19-match winning streak.

The final shapes up as a perfect storm of history, revelry and opportunity. Sinner is playing for the biggest title of his life and a chance to collect an undefeated champion’s check of $4,801,500. To put that in perspective, Sinner’s career earnings are $12.3 million—he could win more than a quarter of that with one win tomorrow.

On the fastest court of the season, Sinner has accelerated past the game’s elite—he’s 12-5 vs. the Top 10, including 4-0 in Turin—reinforcing his reputation as an indoor titan.

Carrying his Gucci bag onto court, Sinner has unpacked more variety in this home run raising his 2023 record to 61-14, including 17-1 indoors.

“Honestly, I was just focusing on the first service game to try to win,” Sinner told Prakash Amritraj afterward. “I was serving first. Always when you got the changeover and you see the score your way it’s obviously a good feeling so I was focusing on the first game and then after I tried to play a little bit more aggressive. Because up until the third set he was playing more aggressive.

“I read his serve a little bit better, his percentage went a little bit lower, but still it was a very good win today and obviously happy to be in the final.”

The only man to finish round-robin play undefeated, Sinner surrendered serve just twice in tournament wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas, top-seeded Djokovic and 20-year-old Holger Rune.

The challenge the lanky Italian faced today was incorporating enough variety into his power-based baseline style to dent Medvedev’s domineering defense.

The third seed turned a 40-love Sinner lead into a stress test earning the first break point in the third game. Applying the angle, Sinner served the big man out wide, jumped on a mid-court return and pounded a backhand to save break point.

The wide serve worked again against Medvedev’s deep return posture.

Curling the wide serve to drag Medvedev wide, Sinner tapped a clever drop shot winner, navigating a tough eight-minute hold for 2-1.

Sinner turned the tables in the next game transforming a 40-love lead for Medvedev into his first break-point chance. Medvedev couldn’t clear the net under pressure, flattening a forehand into the middle of the net.

That sloppy stretch gave Sinner the break and a 3-1 lead. Turin fans erupted in a sing-song chant of “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! Sinner! Sinner!” in celebration of the break 22 minutes into the match.

Facing a love-30 hole in the next game, Sinner caught a break when Medvedev botched a high forehand inside the court. Sinner used that miscue as a springboard working through a tight deuce hold to back up the break for 4-1.

Sinner slashed a serve winner to seal the 45-minute opener on the strength of a single service break.

The 22-year-old Sinner, who saved the lone break point he faced, won 17 of 19 first-serve points and commanded the shorter rallies. Sinner won 25 of the 35 points where rallies spanned four shots or fewer while Medvedev was 10 of 14 on points that lasted nine or more shots.

Reasserting his serve, Medvedev mashed his sixth ace sealing his first love hold of the day for a 2-1 second-set lead.

Medvedev made a move in the eighth game, exploiting a handful of Sinner errors to earn his second break point of the match.

In a sign of a maturing player, Sinner didn’t try to power through the problem. Sinner sent a body serve to set up a high forehand volley to save the break point. A drop shot and stinging first serves helped Sinner survive a 10-minute hold to even after eight games.

The man nicknamed Meddy Bear amped up the volume on his growling grunt and struck his shots with more bite, opening the second-set tiebreaker with an ace.

A grunting Medvedev had been bashing his forehand faster than Sinner so it added an extra element of surprise when he pulled the string on a drop shot for the mini break at 2-1.

Despite missing a low forehand volley, Medvedev came right back attacking net to draw a netted backhand pushing ahead to 4-2.

Slamming successive serves down the T brought Medvedev three set points. On his second set point, Medvedev provoked a floated forehand to force the decider after one hour, 47-minutes of some physical play.

The 2021 US Open champion served 81 percent, pumped seven aces without a double fault and won 25 of 30 first-serve points in the second set. After it ended, Medvedev left the court for treatment of an apparent hip issue.

A trip to the final and a $1.1 million semifinal payday was all one the line in the final set.

Tempting the third seed with a drop shot, Sinner drew a forehand error. Medvedev sailed a forehand to face double break point in his first service game of the final set.

Though Medvedev saved both break points he shoveled a backhand long for a third break point.

This time, Medvedev went big on a massive second serve but missed it long. His first double fault since the first set gave Sinner the break and a 2-0 lead sending Turin fans into a frenzy while Medvedev covered his face with his left hand as if trying to supress a self-induced migraine.

Sinner surged through six of seven points powering out to a 3-0 lead before Medvedev stalled his slide with the hold.

"Very impressed [with Sinner], to be honest. He's playing very good now," Medvedev told the media in Turin. "Right now he's, let's call it, riding a wave. You can see it. Let's see how it's going to be in the final. It's going to be a great semis, first of all, then the final.

"Then the question comes, I generally believe if he plays like this, like he played last weeks, all the time, he's going to have slams, No. 1. Then it comes to how many weeks, how many slams, stuff like this. Sometimes this way ends. The question is how often is he going to ride it. When he's not on the wave, how good he plays. That's the way tennis is."

Painting the sideline with a bold backhand winner, Sinner held at 30 for 4-1 and stood two games from the final.

The man who finished 2022 ranked No. 15 will play for his 11th career title tomorrow in what should be a pulsating atmosphere with the Carota Boys partying like Parrot Heads.

"I think it's nice that they build or made this fan base in one way. It's personalized fans, so it's good to have them," Sinner said of the Carota boys. "I'm also happy for them because they feeling like they are growing also as a group. I talk to them. They are friends when they were three years old or four years old. They have grown up together when they were young. I think that's more important, that they are good friends together, they know each other really well.

"I got to know them not so long ago. It's also for me important that I get to know these kind of people. They have a good impact to the Italian crowd. I think they makes things also a little bit more funnier in one way. So it's good."


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