Italian Sinner has risen to fourth in the world rankings in 2023. Backed by passionate home support in Turin, the 22-year-old has a chance to cap the best season of his young career with what would be his biggest title to date.
Sinner has long been the big hope for Italian tennis and has moved up a level this season, with four tour-level titles and his first win over Novak Djokovic, on Tuesday in the group stage at the Pala Alpitour.
“It’s like the first time you cook pasta with tomato sauce, maybe it’s not that good. You realise that it needs more salt so the next time you add it. Then you might start using fresh tomatoes, and then add in basil,” Sinner told reporters.
“You learn things as you go along, until you get the dish right. That’s what I’m doing. But you have to be careful, you can’t just keep adding new things, because if you put in too many ingredients the dish won’t be good any more. There’s always a balance to be struck.”
On Sunday, Sinner will face either Djokovic or Carlos Alcaraz after his third straight win over world number three Medvedev, who he also beat in finals in Vienna and Beijing.
Medvedev predicted big things for Sinner after Saturday’s defeat, saying that the Italian will win Grand Slams and top the world rankings if he keeps playing as he has in Turin.
“Right now he’s, let’s call it, riding a wave. You can see it,” said Medvedev.
“If he plays like this, like he played in the last weeks, all the time, he’s going to have slams, number one… The question is how often is he going to ride it. When he’s not on the wave, how good he plays.”
Sinner rides the wave
Sinner took early control in game four of the first set when he broke Medvedev’s serve and then fought back from 0-30 down in the next game to take a 4-1 lead.
Huge applause rang around the arena when Sinner served out the set, but Medvedev did not immediately wilt in front of the vociferous support for the home favourite.
The pair went at it toe-to-toe in the second set, holding their respective serves and slugging it out in long baseline rallies.
Medvedev eventually struck back in the tie-break, his powerful service game too much for Sinner who started to show signs of being ground down, even if it was the Russian who called for treatment straight after drawing level.
But an inexplicably bad second game in the third set from Medvedev, ending with a double fault, handed a break of serve to Sinner.
Medvedev became increasingly irritated with his own errors and the partisan crowd, following up one lost point by gesturing towards a spectator after smashing his racket into the floor.
The game was up for Medvedev once he was broken again in game six, and Sinner sealed victory with a perfect service game to love.
Saturday’s other semi-final promises to be a blockbuster clash as Djokovic continues his bid for a record-breaking seventh finals title.
The world number one has a burgeoning rivalry with Alcaraz as the Spaniard is already a two-time Grand Slam champion at the age of 20 and beat the Serbian in an epic five-set Wimbledon final.
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