Jannik Sinner advanced to the quarter-finals of the US Open on Monday night, but will want to review his game before continuing his quest for a first Grand Slam title.
The 21-year-old Italian had a tough night on serve in a rollercoaster five-set win over Ilya Ivashka, throwing 14 double faults and bringing in just 46 percent of the first serve. Seven double faults in the second set alone (of 22 unforced errors) unexpectedly cost Sinner the set as he looked en route to a routine win with a set and 4-2.
In the end, the former Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion had to rally 1-3 in the fifth set to take the win 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and the become youngest player since Novak Djokovic (20, in 2007-08) to complete a series of quarter-finals at all four Grand Slams.
But if Sinner is to reach his first major semifinal, he will have to hone his game ahead of a meeting with third-seeded Carlos Alcaraz or 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.
“Today I had a hard time, I wasn’t playing at my best,” Sinner said. “But in the fifth set I tried to dig deep and I’m very happy to be in the next round.”
Monday night’s stumbling block was a puzzling feat from the six-time Tour title list, who served 44 aces on just 13 double faults in his first three games.
Sinner is 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin, and like fellow countryman Matteo Berrettini (13th), he will need a big run at Flushing Meadows to battle it out to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, where he played last year. played two games in front of home fans as an alternate. Sinner and Berrettini are the highest ranked players outside the current Turin still alive in the tournament.
It is the first time in tournament history (since 1881) that two Italian men reach the quarter-finals in the same year. Sinner and Berrettini also reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January.
Sinner dominated Ivashka early on, converting all three breakpoints in the first set and absorbing Ivashka’s pace with a rock-solid defense as he claimed five of Ivashka’s first six service games. Ivashka’s forehand power alarmed Sinner as the match progressed, and coupled with 55 unforced errors from the Italian, almost proved undoing the 11th series.