It wasn’t easy, but Jannik Sinner found a way to win on Monday evening in Marseille.
Gregoire Barrere served for their first-round match at 5-4 in the third set, but was unable to close out the fifth seed. Sinner continued fighting and ousted the Frenchman 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 7-5 to reach the second round of the Open 13 Provence after two hours and 52 minutes.
“I think it was a tough match. Both of us played a high level. It was a long match. We both were quite consistent in every single part of our game and at the end of the day, in the third set, there was a little bit more pressure on both sides,” Sinner said. “He had to serve out the match. After a long match, that isn’t easy, and I was [also] a break up. In the end I’m very happy about my first-round match and obviously excited to play one more match.”
The Italian teen rarely shows his emotions on court, but he was visibly frustrated after relinquishing a 4-2 advantage in the third set. In a hard-hitting affair, Sinner was the player who began making more unforced errors. When the World No. 34 lost two consecutive service games, that appeared to be a fatal swing.
But Sinner steadied himself when it mattered most and put the pressure on Barrere, the No. 115 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The calm that helped the Frenchman take the second-set tie-break evaded him at the end of the third set, and Sinner took full advantage.
The 19-year-old has already won one ATP Tour title this year, at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne. The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion returned to action the next day and nearly took out Canadian star Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Australian Open, but fell in five sets.
Sinner will next play another #NextGenATP player in home favourite Hugo Gaston. The 20-year-old, who broke through last year when he reached the fourth round at Roland Garros, rallied past Austrian Dennis Novak 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
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This was the Frenchman’s first tour-level win since his dream run in Paris five months ago. Gaston broke serve five times against Austria’s ATP Cup team member to triumph after two hours.
Emil Ruusuvuori also advanced on Monday. The Finnish No. 1, who is pursuing his first ATP Tour title, led Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 4-2 when the Japanese lefty retired. Ruusuvuori will next play French wild card Benjamin Bonzi or Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden.
Did You Know?
Sinner is now 8-1 at tour-level against players outside of the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.