Photo Pete Staples ATP Tour
Teenaged Italian Jannik Sinner announced his presence on the ATP big stage on Saturday with a 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 sweep of Australian Alex de Minaur to win the NextGen Finals trophy in Milan.
Victory for the 18-year-old came at the same venue where Roger Federer won his first career ATP title in January, 2001 aged 19 – seven months before Sinner was born.
The flame-haired Sinner, who reached his first ATP semi-final last month in Vienna, saved all nine break points he faced to stun top seed De Minaur in the event limited to the top eight players aged under 21.
Victory for the No. 95 took a quick 66 minutes.
“I just tried to hit the ball, I tried to play my game, tried not to make too many unforced errors,” Sinner said.
“This week has been unbelievable. I actually don’t have words.”
The win was the second against a Top 20 opponent for Sinner, who also beat Gael Monfils in Antwerp.
Due to his late breakthrough at the ATP level, Sinner was handed a wild card into the third edition of the tournament in the northern Italian commercial capital 300 kilometers form his home in the German-speaking Sud Tirol area of the country near Austria.
Sinner began his sporting career in ski racing but switched to tennis full-time only five years ago;
He won his first Challenger title in February of this season.
The last two winner of the NextGen event both reached Australian Open semi-finals – Chung Hyeon in 2018 and Stefanos Tsitsipas – about to start the ATP Finals in London – in 2019.
Even after his victory Sinner has another tennis job to hand.
He will travel to his home area as holder at the Ortisei Challenger near the World Cup ski resort of Val Gardena and will start on Wednesday against one of two fellow Italians.