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Australian Open 2022 – At 20, Jannik Sinner is already playing his second Grand Slam quarter-final

Jannik Sinner may be seeded number 11 at the Australian Open, but seeing him in the quarter-finals is normal. Admittedly, his part of the draw was amputated by Casper Ruud, seeded number 8 and theoretical opponent of Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals, but the Italian displays such a level that he could very well have got away with it against the Norwegian. After all, this quarterback at the Australian Open is the second Grand Slam of his career. Not even at 21. It’s his glass ceiling so far. Sinner has the opportunity to break it this Wednesday. No one will blame him for not doing it, but the opportunity is very good.

So ask Alexander Zverev if shining in a Grand Slam is a no-brainer for a talented young player. Titled in Rome and Montreal, in Masters 1000, from 2017 (at 20 years old), he has long had a kind of complex towards the Majors. And if he is now solid, it took until 2020 to see him systematically reach the knockout stages. Sinner, after his title at the NextGen Masters at the end of 2019, confirmed by reaching the quarters of Roland-Garros a little less than a year later.

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Another final in Madrid for Zverev

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Better Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Zverev

A quarter for his third Grand Slam only is an anomaly. None of the best players in the world of the 21st century has achieved such a performance. Four eighths, counting the Australian Open 2022, in nine major tournaments, it is also proof of great regularity. And what does it ultimately matter if there were early exits (Khachanov at US 2020, Shapovalov in Australia and Fucsovics at Wimbledon in 2021), on those days the draw was unfavorable. And finally, wouldn’t these little hiccups be the norm for a player of his age? Felix Auger-Aliassime, 12 months his senior, knew them before his quarter-final in Wim, half in the US and quarter in Melbourne (for the moment). Same thing for Medvedev or Tsitsipas.

His two matches against Nadal at Roland-Garros (2020 and 2021) ended in defeats in three sets. But time will remind that he has, each time, offered resistance to the master of the place. “He is very complete and also has a big heart, he is an incredible player. I believe he will have one hell of a career“, had also judged the Spaniard with 20 Grand Slam titles. This tribute marks a sort of birth certificate for Sinner. To confirm it, the Northern Italian must achieve a huge coup in the Grand Slam.

Against this Sinner, de Minaur could not do anything: the highlights of their match on video

In 2021, he played a lot against the best players in the world, including at the Masters where he had benefited from the withdrawal of Matteo Berrettini, his compatriot. Result, a success on Hurkacz and a defeat in three sets against Medvedev just titled in Grand Slam. “It’s really a very good year for meno doubt, he judged after this Masters. Playing here was a great conclusion. I think I grew as a player and as a person. Having played here will bring me a lot. There were a lot of good things, it was great. It’s a real pleasure to face these great players.”

More reassuring than Tsitsipas in Melbourne

With his rank, Sinner could not hope, with a respected logic, a player “less well” ranked than Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. Fourth player in the world, the latter is also the one among the outsiders mentioned before the start of the fortnight still in contention, to have the least reassured on his level of play. He won only one match in three sets, the first against in Ymer and the affair did not get better afterwards with four sets against Baez and Paire and even five against Fritz (N.20) in the round of 16. Conclusion, he has already spent two hours and thirty minutes more on the court than his opponent in the quarter. In the heat and humidity of Melbourne, this is anything but good news.

Tsitsipas comes out on top in five sets against Fritz: Video highlights

To make Jannik Sinner the favorite of this quarter-final which will take its winner to the winner of the duel between Nadal and Berrettini, would be a bit daring and to say that a defeat for Sinner would be a setback, really exaggerated. It is not because he has set the bar higher and faster that the Italian must necessarily cross it. Whether he is in eighth or quarter at his age is quite remarkable. That he has already beaten Zverev (Roland 2020) on one of the biggest stages in the world, just as much.

Seeing Sinner in the semi-finals would be a real surprise but also the result of a meteoric progression. Measuring up against the best, it’s no secret, remains the best way to progress. Tsitsipas is, along with Zverev, one of the two members of the Top 5 that the young player has already beaten and a second success is well within his reach. This simple fact shows just how unique Sinner is.

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