The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships witnessed another upset when teenager Jannik Sinner ousted 2018 winner Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Sinner, 19, blasted 16 aces past Agut compared to the Spaniard’s five aces in this two-hour-plus battle, sealing his spot in the last eight.
The opening set went to Sinner as he broke to lead 5-4. Bautista Agut dug deep in the second set to level the match by breaking to lead 5-3 in the second, before serving out the set.
Both players exchanged a series of backhands, but Sinner claimed the upper hand by breaking to lead 4-2 in the deciding set. The Spaniard kept his fighting spirit to level the set at 4-4, but a double fault at 6-5 gave Sinner a match point which he gratefully accepted by delivering a beautiful cross-court forehand to seal it.
Sinner’s fortitude was exhibited to outlast a player who had already reached two finals this year, in Montpellier and last week in Doha.
“Jannick Sinner is arguably the most exciting teenage player in the world, and we greatly enjoyed his wonderful performance against our 2018 champion,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “It will be interesting indeed to see if he can continue his success here as the week progresses.”
It was smooth sailing for Andrey Rublev as he cruised past Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-1 in a match that lasted just over an hour. The 23-year-old took full advantage of Fritz’s weary second serve, as he made sure the rallies were kept short across both sets.
The Russian has now racked up 22-consecutive ATP 500 wins and is second only to Roger Federer’s record of 28 consecutive ATP 500 wins.
Kei Nishikori saw off Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-4 and asserted himself as one of the main title contenders in Dubai. The Japanese player lost only one point on serve, zero on the first serve, and blasted 31 winners past Bedene to move into the quarters.
Earlier in the day, Dennis Shapovalov surged ahead as he picked off Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-3. Enduring the blazing heat, the Russian wrapped up the game in just over an hour and is set to face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
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