NextGen tournament reigning champion Jannik Sinner advanced with ease into the Cologne quarter-finals while fellow young gun Denis Shapovalov was knocked out in three sets on Thursday.

Italian Sinner, 19 and ranked 46th, moved into an ATP last-eight position for the third time this season, defeating Frenchman  Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-1.

It was a different result for Canada’s Shapovalov, who lost 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to French veteran Gilles Simon.

The winners will square off for a semi-final spot on Friday at the new ATP indoor event.

Sinner is new to the Top 50 but is showing that he belongs, with the teenager dropping just seven games this week on the way into the quarters.

“In the beginning, it was tough for both [of us], trying to understand the other plays. (I was) trying to find the key on how to serve, especially on the break points, at 30-all,” Sinner said.

“I think it was a quite solid performance today.”

The Italian also played the quarter-finals last February in Rotterdam prior to the COVID-19 tennis shutdown a few weeks later.

The 35-year-old Simon had to work to beat Shapovalov, ranked 12th who touched the Top 10 recently. The Frenchman is aiming for his first title since September, 2018 in Metz.

Simon broke seven times in less than two hours, with Shapovalov sinking to 13 double-faults.

The veteran knows his battle with Sinner will be a difficult test: ”Jannik is playing unbelievable tennis, he’s one of the guys I’ve been looking at the most since he came on the Tour. 

“He is really impressive, improving so fast in many things… I’m a big fan of tennis. As a fan, Denis and Jannik are players that I like to watch because they bring a lot into tennis.”

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