Novak Djokovic may have discovered his qualification for the Masters semi-finals on his way home from dinner in the city. On Thursday, the Serbian planned to go to Turin and just follow the score rather than watch the match that was about to decide his future in the competition.
After his success in three sets against Hubert Hurkacz (7-6, 4-6, 6-1) earlier in the day, the world number 1 and defending champion needed a Jannik Sinner victory against Holger Rune to continue dreaming of a seventh place. coronation in the masters tournament. Two days after exhausting him in three sets (7-5, 6-7, 7-6) and more than three hours, the Italian gave him a great gift this time by not without problems beating the Danes (6-2, 5-7, 6-4).
Sinner and Djokovic thus join Daniil Medvedev in the last four. The last place will be played out on Friday between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev in a distance match.
Sinner takes advantage of Rune’s wanderings
Some wondered about the motivation of Sinner, who won his first two group matches and qualified for the semi-finals before facing Rune. His start, a break on a winning forehand pass and then a shutout concluded with an ace, extinguished the doubts: in front of his audience, the 4th in the world had no intention of saving himself.
The 22-year-old was helped by his opponent’s wanderings at the start of the match. In addition to his pumps, multiplying the climbs “with socks” (0/5 at the net during the first round) and the serious mistakes, such as a seized forehand, Rune was 4-0 behind in 17 minutes. Then 6-2 in just over half an hour.
The level rose significantly at the beginning of the second round. Finally inspired, Rune varied more, landing some well-felt drop shots and finding efficiency at the net, where he resorted to breaking out of long rallies that almost systematically turned in Sinner’s favor. Two forehands, a winning return at 136 km/h and a peanut along the line, saw him achieve his first break point of the match at 2-1. The Italian dismissed her with a winning field service.
At 2-2, Rune had already scored more winning shots in the second set (7) than in the entire first (6). But at the next change of sides, the world 8th called the physiotherapist and was tied up below the right knee. A few minutes later, at 4-4, it was the Italian’s turn who felt a twinge in his lower back.
Rune misses a 5-3 ball in the third set
At 6-5 in Rune’s favor, Sinner collapsed on the backhand side: three consecutive errors and three set points had to be put aside. He saved the first two thanks to two forehand hits, but on the last one he was lobbed and the Dane regained his height.
In the decisive round the tension increased a notch. The crowd booed Rune for a long time when he asked for a challenge far too late. “Gentlemen, we’re not going any further as long as you continue, so if you want to watch some tennis…”cut off the French referee Aurélie Tourte, who logically refused the Dane’s request.
Once again Rune dominated the rally, kept alive thanks to his quality first ball, saving two break points at 1-1 and then a third at 2-2. There wasn’t much to report until 4-3, when Sinner, increasingly feverish on the backhand side, faced his first break point of the set. But Rune lacked precision on the return (backhand in the court) behind a second ball from the Italian.
Without knowing it, Boris Becker’s foal had missed his chance. In the aftermath of this 5-3 ball in his favor, he was broken after a winning backhand volley from Sinner, which immediately ended the match.