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Sinner gets past Medvedev


EIJING, China (AFP) — Jannik Sinner said holding his nerve in “important moments” was the key to edging out world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev in Wednesday’s China Open men’s final, which turned on a pair of high-stakes tiebreaks in Beijing.

The Italian triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2) in an otherwise deadlocked match to claim the first such tournament since 2019 after Beijing ditched tight pandemic-era health restrictions.

Neither man was able to break the other’s serve but Sinner missed a presentable opportunity in the first set when he walloped an overhead volley long on break point and allowed the Russian to hold from deuce.

It was a different story in the tiebreak, with the world number seven racing into a 5-0 lead and sealing the deal when Medvedev struck a forehand into the net.

A similar stalemate ensued in set two with the first dozen games going with serve before Sinner again showed his composure when it mattered.

He took the lead in the tiebreak with a deft drop shot and never looked back, whipping a stunning cross-court passing shot for match point and battering back a Medvedev serve to seize victory in front of a raucous crowd.

“At some point, I started to return a little bit better… read his serve a little bit better, and that gave me confidence, especially for the tie-break,” Sinner said at a post-match news conference.

“The important moments in every match… today I also managed somehow that they (went) my way,” the 22-year-old added.

“Today’s final was a very high-level final, (and) I’m very happy about the ending of this tournament,” he said.

Medvedev admitted that his opponent played “much better than me” in both tiebreaks.

“He managed to control his emotions better in these tie-breaks (and) not make mistakes… (while) I made some easy ones,” said the 27-year-old.

“In a way it’s luck, but also experience and stuff like this. That’s why he won.”

World No. 2 and tournament favorite Carlos Alcaraz was eliminated by Sinner in their semifinal on Tuesday.

The top-ranked men’s player, Novak Djokovic, is not playing in China this year.

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