ATP Finals: Jannik Sinner replaces Matteo Berrettini and writes history

The 20-year-old Jannik Sinner failed to qualify for the ATP Finals at the Paris Masters, traveling to Turin as an alternate and practicing with the world’s leading players. On Tuesday, Jannik trained with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic and got a chance to make the ATP Finals debut in front of the home crowd, as the other Italian, Matteo Berrettini, withdrew from the competition. Matteo injured his abdomen in the opening match against Alexander Zverev on Sunday night, retiring in the second set’s second game and doing his best to step on the court against Hubert Hurkacz tonight. Matteo came to the arena and practiced today, but he decided to withdraw and avoid more severe issues. Thus, Jannik gets a chance to compete at the premium ATP event, becoming the 11th U20 player to achieve that since 1990. Since 2000, only Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev had that honor before Jannik, who also seeks the year-end top-10 finish if he wins one match.

Jannik Sinner replaces Matteo Berrettini at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The youngster has won 45 encounters and four titles in 2021, cracking the top-10 a few weeks ago as the eighth-youngest player since 1994. Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev played a high-level opening set on Sunday night. The Italian did his best to follow the rival’s pace in front of the partisan crowd, wasting set points and finishing on a losing side due to that injury. The match lasted for an hour and 41 minutes, and the opponents stayed neck and neck after erasing all seven break points. Berrettini fended off two break chances in the encounter’s opening game and saved another at 1-1 to stay in touch.

Matteo survived another challenging game at 3-3 before Zverev fired an ace a few minutes later for a hold at love and 4-4. Alexander grabbed the tenth game with a volley winner at the net and erased two set points at 5-6 to introduce a tie break. Matteo opened a 5-3 advantage before spraying a forehand mistake. After a lot of drama, Alexander grabbed the breaker 9-7 after almost 80 minutes for a massive boost ahead of set number two. Berrettini struggled with an injury in the second game and had to retire to keep any chance of playing two days later, which could not happen.

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