#NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner followed in the footsteps of 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday at the US Open as he battled past 17th seed Gael Monfils 7-6(1), 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the second week at a major for the second time this year.
The 20-year-old, who advanced to the last 16 at Roland Garros, recovered from being a break up in the third set and losing a 4-0 lead in the fourth set, regaining his focus in the decider to secure his victory after three hours and 41 minutes. Sinner now leads Monfils 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head Series.
The 13th seed is making his third appearance at Flushing Meadows, having fallen in the first round in 2019 and 2020. Sinner will next face fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev or big-serving American Jack Sock as he aims to reach his second major quarter-final, after enjoying a run to the last eight in Paris last year.
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The three-time tour-level champion captured the title on hard in Washington and will be targeting a strong finish to the season as he bids to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals on home soil in Turin this November.
In a tight first set, Monfils tried to disrupt Sinner’s rhythm with his variety of shots and found the break in the 11th game to lead. However, the Frenchman was unable to serve the set out as Sinner raised his level to win 10 out of the last 11 points of the set, moving ahead when Monfils hit a forehand return into the net.
Fuelled with confidence, the Italian raced through the second set, committing just three unforced errors to double his advantage. Sinner continued to soak up Monfils’ power in the third set until the eighth game when the 35-year-old began to hit through the Italian. Backed by a vocal crowd, Monfils broke twice from 3-4 to gain a foothold in the match.
Then from 4-0 ahead in the fourth set and cruising, Monfils rolled off six-straight games as Sinner struggled for consistency on serve, making just 49 per cent of his first serves in the set as Monfils levelled. However, the 20-year-old reverted back to basics in the decider, finding great depth on his groundstrokes as he played aggressively to pin Monfils behind the baseline to secure his victory.
Monfils was aiming to reach the fourth round at a major for the first time since enjoying a run to the last 16 at the Australian Open last year. The 35-year-old was making his 14th appearance at the US Open, with his best performance a run to the semi-finals in 2016.