Sinner Rallies Past Baez In Shanghai To Extend Winning Streak

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2023

Sinner Rallies Past Baez In Shanghai To Extend Winning Streak

Italian faces Shelton next, Rublev wins opener

Jannik Sinner dug deep to maintain his unbeaten Asian swing on Sunday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, where the sixth seed overcame Sebastian Baez 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to book a fourth-round spot at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Beijing champion Sinner ground down the typically resilient Baez for his seventh consecutive win. He powered 29 winners and made just 11 unforced errors to wrap a two-hour triumph inside the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena.

“I was expecting a very tough match,” said Sinner, who became the third player to reach 20 Masters 1000 wins this year after Alcaraz and Medvedev. “He was playing really well in the first set.

“In the second set I tried to play a bit more aggressive, which worked better. When you start by going a break up immediately in the second it is a little bit easier to get into the rhythm. I’m very proud of how I handled the situation.”

It was a continuation of his recent fine form for Sinner, who lifted his maiden Masters 1000 trophy in August in Toronto and defeated Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev back-to-back to claim the title in Beijing. His opening-round victory in Shanghai against Marcos Giron had clinched his spot at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, and he cut a relaxed figure against Baez despite the Argentine making a fast start in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

The 25th-seeded Baez led 4-1 early and held firm to claim the opening set, but he could not match Sinner’s increase in level as the match wore on. The Italian was again impressive at the net, an aspect of his game in which he has shown significant recent improvement. Sinner won 68 per cent (15/22) of points moving forwards.

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The next test for Sinner as he chases his second Masters 1000 crown is a fourth-round clash with Ben Shelton. The #NextGenATP American defeated Roman Safiullin 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 earlier on Sunday.

“[It will be] the first time that we’ve faced each other,” said Sinner of the Shelton clash. “We’ve never even pracised together. It’s going to be completey new and I’m looking forward to it. He’s a very good player, serving very big, so I’m excited for the challenge. We will see how it goes and hopefully it is going to be a good match.”

One of the players in a strong position to join Sinner in qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals, Andrey Rublev, also claimed victory in Shanghai. The fifth seed downed Quentin Halys 6-4, 7-5 to set a meeting with the in-form Adrian Mannarino, who notched his eighth consecutive tour-level victory by beating Tseng Chun-Hsin 6-2, 6-2. Rublev remains fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

Hubert Hurkacz and Grigor Dimitrov both boosted their outside chances of making a late charge to Turin. Hurkacz ended qualifier Hsu Yu Hsiou’s dream run with a 6-4, 6-4 third-round triumph, while Dimitrov beat Aleksandar Vukic 6-4, 6-3 in a second-round match postponed from Saturday due to rain. Hurkacz and Dimitrov are 16th and 19th, respectively, in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

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