Jannik Sinner made a winning start to his Nitto ATP Finals campaign on Sunday when he downed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to delight the Italian fans inside the Pala Alpitour.
The 22-year-old Italian was dialled in from the outset at the prestigious year-end event in Turin, striking his flat groundstrokes cleanly to rush the Greek. Sinner hit through the court, blasted 22 winners and successfully targeted Tsitsipas’ backhand to earn his 58th win of the season after one hour and 25 minutes.
“I was excited to step on court and opening the Finals is really, really special,” Sinner said. “I knew it was going to be very tough but I think I handled the situation well. I tried to stay aggressive and I am very happy with the performance. I am happy to start off with a win and hopefully I can continue with this intensity.”
Sinner competed as an alternate in Turin in 2021, before he qualified for the eight-man tournament for the first time this year. It is just the third time an Italian player has won a singles match at the event, after Matteo Berrettini defeated Dominic Thiem in 2019 and Sinner beat Hubert Hurkacz in 2021.
“It is a special week,” Sinner said. “We play under a roof, so it is nosier and playing with this crowd is such a special feeling. I tried to be really happy on the court and really focused.”
The World No. 4 now holds a 3-5 record in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series, while he is 1-0 in Green Group action. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic and Dane Holger Rune are also in Green Group and face off this evening in Italy.
Sinner arrived in Turin off the back of a standout year. He has won four tour-level trophies in 2023, including his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Toronto.
With expectations raised, Sinner quickly delivered inside a packed Pala Alpitour. He earned the decisive break of the first set in the fifth game of the first set to lead, while he won 84 per cent (16/19) of his first-serve points in the opener.
Sinner then gained further control at the start of the second set, breaking in the first game when Tsitsipas could only find the net with a backhand. The Italian looked smooth on serve and relaxed on his groundstrokes, sealing victory on his first match point.
Tsitsipas has fond memories at the Nitto ATP Finals, having won the trophy on debut in 2019. The World No. 6, who is making his fifth appearance at the event, struggled to trouble Sinner in the opening match of this year’s edition, though, falling to 51-23 on the season.
“I would like to congratulate Jannik on a very good match, a great performance from start to finish,” Tsitsipas said. “He showed good strength, very responsible play from the beginning of the match, from the very first point.
“He was attacking a lot, serving really well, kept his composure in those crucial moments that were a few today. He kept it quite clean and didn’t get too affected by any situation that came his way.”