Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Another Italian teenager scores big upset in Rome

Third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece lost to 19-year-old wild card Jannik
Sinner of Italy in three sets today in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome.
2019 photo by Mal Taam
   An Italian teenage man pulled off a major upset in the Italian Open for the second consecutive day today.
   One day after 18-year-old qualifier Lorenzo Musetti stunned 10th-seeded Stan Wawrinka, 19-year-old wild card Jannik Sinner ousted third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-1, 6-7 (9), 6-2 in the second round in Rome. 
   Sinner, ranked No. 81, led 6-1, 5-2, but the 22-year-old Tsitsipas, ranked sixth, won four straight games to serve for the second set and saved two match points in the tiebreaker.
   Sinner recorded his second victory over a top-10 player. He knocked off No. 10 David Goffin in the second round in Rotterdam in February.
   Sinner, who reached the second round of last year's Aptos, Calif., Challenger one week after winning the Lexington, Ky., title, is set to face 15th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria on Friday for a quarterfinal berth.
   Dimitrov, a 2014 Rome semifinalist who climbed as high as No. 3 in 2017, demolished Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-1, 6-0 in 55 minutes. Dimitrov won 24 of 25 points on his first serve.
   Another Italian wild card, 28-year-old Stefano Travaglia, surprised unseeded Borna Coric, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist last week, 7-6 (2), 7-5. Travaglia, ranked No. 84, is scheduled to take on countryman Matteo Berrettini, seeded fourth, on Friday.
   Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, playing his first match since getting defaulted from the U.S. Open on Sept. 6, outclassed Italian wild card Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2.
   Djokovic, a four-time Italian Open champion, next will meet fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato.
   Second-seeded Rafael Nadal, playing his first official match since winning Acapulco in February, overwhelmed Spanish countryman Pablo Carreno Busta, a U.S. Open semifinalist, 6-1, 6-1 in 73 minutes. 
   Nadal, seeking his third consecutive Rome title and 10th overall, will play the winner of Thursday's match between 13th-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada and Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.
   Both sixth seeds lost today. Marin Cilic, an Italian Open semifinalist in 2018 and a two-time Rome quarterfinalist, routed Goffin 6-2, 6-2. Qualifier Danka Kovinic of Montenegro dominated Belinda Bencic, playing her first match since February, 6-3, 6-1.
   Top-seeded Simona Halep, a two-time Italian Open runner-up, beat Italian wild card Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-4 for her 10th straight victory and 15th in her last 16 matches.
   In a matchup of former world No. 1s and Bank of the West Classic champions at Stanford, Victoria Azarenka eliminated 40-year-old Venus Williams 7-6 (7), 6-2.
   Azarenka has won 13 of her last 14 matches, losing to Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open final, after going 0-3 since August 2019.
   Williams lost in the first round for the third consecutive tournament and fell to 1-7 this year. Her only victory is over Azarenka in the opening round in Lexington last month.

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