Home Sports Atp Finals, Sinner enters and wins “Here we play for Matteo”

Atp Finals, Sinner enters and wins “Here we play for Matteo”

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The South Tyrolean tennis player took over from Berrettini forced to leave In Turin he clearly beat the Polish Hubert Hurkacz in two sets

the character

Stefano Semeraro / torino

And the day came when Jannik Sinner took the Finals. In his own way, a red fury tucked into an apparent calm, a boyish physique inhabited by the security of a veteran. On his debut in the masters’ tournaments, as Matteo Berrettini’s luxury substitute, the boy played as a professor: 6-2 6-2 – his classic rate on the fast – trimmed in an hour and 25 minutes to Hubert Hurkacz who yesterday he woke up thinking he was facing a battered Berrettini and found himself in front of an unleashed, implacable and impeccable Sinner, under his hat all the grit, the hunger that would have served the eleven of Mancini in Belfast. And in the end the overflowing emotion for the unfortunate companion, who in the afternoon gave him the go-ahead with a text message. “We play this tournament for Matteo, that’s the only thing I want to say.”

A plural perhaps unconscious, but not accidental, which for a second jammed his words. «Because he is not only a great player, but an exceptional person. I will try to do my best, but always keeping Matteo in my heart, and hoping that he will recover quickly ». A full of emotion, but not that of the rookie. Jan had always felt these Finals on him and has been a phenomenon since the first fifteen. The opening set slipped away in 44 ‘, in front of a visibly stunned Hurkacz. The second Jan choked him with a break at the opening and transformed it into a brutal competitive execution, while the Pala Alpitour, overcrowded in the higher sectors, punctuated his name, peeled his hands. The fist waved to answer the stands – which had greeted him with a roar – but turned to himself; and to the thought of Matthew.

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He had entered the blue clearing of the Pala Alpitour when the Mole had just appeared on the giant screen, shot against the white profile of the mountains, with the cadenced step of the Alpine that knows that every journey is a stage, every goal a temporary refuge. The racket bag carried like a backpack full of dreams, the first built in Val Pusteria, when he was still a boy; the last put in in a hurry when yesterday afternoon the news of the withdrawal of his friend arrived which made him the fourth Italian to play the Masters in 51 years. At 20 years and 3 months the youngest ever, the mascot of this edition, two years younger than Casper Ruud, three older than the earliest of all, Aaron Krickstein, who grabbed him at the Masters at 17. Jan would have liked to have arrived differently, as owner and not as a bench player at the same time lucky and saddened.

But sport has its secret appointments, so Sinner ended up spending his first evening in the masters class on the bench with Hubi Hurkacz, the opponent who had beaten him in the final of the Masters 1000 in Miami and then burned in the sprint for the qualification.

Jan “already has the level”, as Riccardo Piatti says, for some time he has been able to be among the best, even to beat them. It was the arithmetic of points that moved him out of the frame, Chance has brought him back into play and now he wants to stay there. A replacement in progress had already occurred thirteen times in the last twenty-five editions, in 1997 (Thomas Muster and Tim Henman) and in 1998 (Albert Costa and Greg Rusedski) ‘alternate’, the reserves took the field even two (also in 2005 but one, Puerta, before the tournament started). No one has ever made it to the semifinals. Partly because entering cold is never easy, very much because among the qualification criteria there is also the number of matches played and whoever takes over runs a handicap race. Jan too has a marked path – to always win – and fate is not all in his hands. Thursday will have to contend with Daniil Medvedev and hope that Hurkakcz beats Zverev in the last match. «At first I was a bit tense I wanted to do well because Hubi is a friend too, and he had beaten me in Miami. Now I’m ready for a battle, let’s see what will happen ». On his side, he has the strength of someone who does not fight only for himself. He arrived in Turin with the body ready, but the soul in reserve, disappointed for a missed qualification that tasted of mockery, the missing icing on top of a perfect season, four tournaments won (Melbourne, Washington, Sofia and Antwerp), the world ranking climbed alone with a confidence from Messner. Now he is on a mission for all of Italian tennis. –

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