Fourth seed Jannik Sinner takes out World No. 8 Holger Rune to complete a perfect 3-0 Green Group campaign at the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday evening in Turin. As a result, defending champion Novak Djokovic moves on to contest his 12th semifinal at the event.
World No. 4 Jannik Sinner, the first Italian to progress to the Nitto ATP Finals last four in the tournament’s 54-year history, took out eighth seed Holger Rune 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 after two hours and 33 minutes, completing a perfect inaugural campaign at Turin’s Pala Alpitour.
In his on-court interview, he said: “For me, it was really important, resetting after the good win against Novak.”
“I never won against [Rune], so I really tried my best. I started really well. In the second, he served better, he moved better, so it was a much more even match.”
“The third set could have gone his way. At 4-3, I saved a break point. It was a little bit of a rollercoaster today, but obviously, really happy and happy to be in the semis.”
This year’s event sees the home favorite competing for the first time as a qualifier; he played as an alternate in 2021, replacing injured countryman Matteo Berrettini.
So far, so good for the young Italian star, who left behind former champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, beat for the first time in his career top seed Novak Djokovic, and ousted Rune to secure with honors a spot in the semifinals.
On a level of his own and supported by his home crowd, Sinner set off action at a fast pace, and after breaking his opponent twice at the start of the first set, he rushed to open a 4-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the net, Rune’s timing seemed off, lacking his return game from the outset against the local hope, failing to force a single breakpoint.
The 22-year-old got the better of the Danish player in their baseline exchanges, damaging his adversary by hitting huge groundstrokes.
In control of the match, he stayed solid behind his serve, winning 80 percent of the first serve points en route to taking the opener 6-2 in just 32 minutes, firing eight winners and committing only three unforced errors.
As the second set wore on, the former Paris Masters winner raised his level, finding his rhythm to balance play, forcing his rival to save a breakpoint for the first time during the encounter in the fourth game.
Then, the eighth seed fended off a breakpoint to secure a 3-2 lead, receiving treatment on his right knee afterward.
Under pressure, the 20-year-old hit back the court, holding onto his advantage at 5-4.
Nonetheless, he only found breathing room to convert his first breakpoint in the 12th game of the second set, maximizing his chances to wrap up 7-5 in 61 minutes.
Rune hit 12 winners and 11 unforced errors compared to Sinner’s 15 and 12, respectively.
Halfway into the second set, the Italian began to touch his lower back, and as the games went on, he gave signs of pain, which raised concerns regarding his fitness.
However, the San Candido Native continued to play aggressively, mixing drop shops and approaching the net often. But Boris Becker’s pupil made a difference with his second serve, winning crucial points.
Sinner held his nerve across a tight decider. Despite facing a breakpoint on his serve in the eighth game, the brave Italian charged at the net with exquisite precision, clinically breaking in the ninth game to serve for the match at 5-4.
The resilient 10-time ATP titlist claimed the set 6-4 and the match to the delight of the fans cheering the young player who showed great maturity and intelligence to adjust his tactics when needed.
He earned 84 percent of the first serve points and 60 percent on his second, saving 4 of 5 breakpoints he faced throughout the contest while converting 3 of 10 breakpoint opportunities.
Furthermore, he won 87 of the points at the net and 39 percent on return, finishing with 33 winners to 26 unforced errors.
The result of this match determined Djokovic fate, allowing the six-time champion to reach the last four in his 16th appearance.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Serbian edged Pole Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-1, who stepped in for injured Tsitsipas in the third and last match in round robin.