TENNIS: We preview two of today’s Sofia Open Quarter-Finals featuring both Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune.
Sinner the favourite to retain trophy
Jannik Sinner has been hailed by many as the future of the sport and after watching him at the three major tournaments this summer, it is easy to see why.
The young Italian looks to have already developed a complete game. He is calm and grounded on court, he can perform under pressure and his range of shots mirror those of a master. It could even be said that he reflects an air of grace and eloquence of the mighty Roger Federer in the way he doesn’t always play the most powerful shots but picks his spot, combining his speed and anticipation with perfect execution at the critical point of the rally.
This summer, he has been one of the favourites at all three Grand Slams this summer and hasn’t disappointed on a single occasion.
Now ranked 10th in the world, most recently, Sinner made it to the quarter final of the US Open where he expertly held at arms-length the player who would go on to win the tournament, for most of the match.
Coming back from match point down to win, Carlos Alcaraz beat the man that had knocked him out of Wimbledon in the fourth round, but that doesn’t reflect any less on Sinner who will undoubtedly be lifting a major trophy of his own in the near future.
Winning six titles since turning pro in 2018, Sinner will be playing at the top level for a long time to come and at 1.15 to progress to the semi-final here, it seems there will be little his opponent will be able to do to stop him.
Aleksandar Vukic is the ATP 144 ranked Australian that faces Sinner, and looking at his record of zero career titles, and highest ranking of 117, most tennis fans will be fairly confident in their prediction for this one.
The Australian lost in the first round of qualification at the US Open and the second round at the French Open, so it is not expected he will put up much against a man who will likely be one of the top 10 players for the rest of the decade. Vukic did claim an ATP Challenger title in February so he will have some threat, but at 7.1 to triumph here, don’t expect to see a classic.
Underdog to emerge victorious?
The Sofia Open pits two of the top 100 players together on the indoor hardcourts for a chance to progress to the semi-finals.
One of the first tournaments since the awe-inspiring US Open in the summer, the Sofia Open gives players the chance to get back on the court and keep up the momentum they generated playing on the biggest stage.
This couldn’t be truer for Holger Rune, a young Danish player who has been tipped for greatness and certainly possess the talent to progress to the highest level of the professional sport.
Playing very well in the early part of the summer at the French Open making it to the quarter finals, Rune showed signs that he was getting closer to unleashing his potential, offering a glimpse of his powerful forehand and ability to move quickly around all corners of the court. However, his inexperience in major tournaments and perhaps the need to develop a calmer state while on court, highlighted his room for development and the requirement for a little more playing time before he can be expected to consistently beat the best.
Proving he is cut out for the big stage already; it is sure that he will return to the later stages of a Grand Slam and will be well in with a chance of claiming a major trophy in the long promising career ahead of him.
Rune has looked impressive in this tournament and it speaks volumes of his attitude that he is back on court so soon after such a busy summer where he played at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. Though the underdog in this tie at 2.18, he is well worth backing against a player 40 places lower than him in the rankings.
His opponent, Ilya Ivashka is ranked 71st in the world and arrives in Bulgaria after an impressive run at the US Open. The more experienced man made it to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, only dropping three sets in his journey to the round of 16, and finds himself in a good position to progress to the semi-finals.
The two players have never faced each other before but the Belarusian, Ivashka, has the age advantage over his adversary. It must be mentioned however, turning pro in 2013, Ivashka has only won one singles title and Rune, only turning pro in 2020, already has the Munich Open trophy to his name.
Showing his ability to win under pressure, Ivashka will fancy his chances against the younger player and with the backing of BETDAQ punters seeing the 28 year old at 1.81 for the win, maybe this will be his chance to get his hands on that illusive second trophy.