Jannik Sinner sails into 4th round at Australian Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 19 Jan, 2024 at 05:50 AM

Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth-seeded Jannik Sinner of Italy had little trouble moving into the fourth round at the Australian Open, turning back 26th-seeded Sebastian Baez of Argentina 6-0, 6-1, 6-3 on Friday in Melbourne.

Seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and 12th-seeded Taylor Fritz of the United States also advanced.

Sinner, after cruising through the first two sets, produced the break he needed in the fifth game of the third set and went on to complete the straight-set triumph in 1 hour, 52 minutes.

Sinner had to rally for a victory over Baez last year in China, but the gap in talent was on full display this time.

"I was returning much better," he said postmatch. "The conditions are a little bit different. We played in Shanghai (where) the ball is a little bit lower. Here, it bounces a little bit higher so I tried to let it bounce.

"In general, I played really well and I feel great here."

Sinner took an extra week of rest after leading Italy to the Davis Cup title in 2023.

"I'm really happy how I'm feeling right now," he said. "At the moment, I'm going really well."

Offsetting his 27 unforced errors, Sinner had 34 winners to Baez's 13 and won seven of his 12 break-point opportunities. He also won 78 percent of his first-serve points to Baez's 54 percent.

Sinner, 22, will take on Karen Khachanov in a fourth-round match. Khachanov, a Russian who is seeded 15th, survived a tense battle with Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic, winning 6-4, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted nearly 3 1/2 hours.

After dropping the first two sets, Machac used 15 winners to Khachanov's five in taking the third set.

The 6-foot-6 Russian used his strong serve to finish off Machac, who was coming off a straight-set victory over 17th-seeded American Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

Khachanov won five of his six service points in the fourth-set tiebreaker while sealing the victory.

Tsitsipas completed his 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 win over France's Luca Van Assche in just over two hours.

A major serving disparity was a key to the match. Tsitsipas had a 12-1 edge in aces while Van Assche committed the contest's only five double faults. Tsitsipas also saved 8 of 9 break points while converting on 6 of 8 break opportunities.

Fritz downed Hungary's Fabian Marozsan 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Marozsan committed twice as many unforced errors as Fritz, 48-24, while Fritz compiled a 53-37 edge in winners.

--Field Level Media