In the Victory Over Rotterdam,Jannik Sinner Cherishes Spent Court with “incredible showman” Monfil

On Thursday, Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the ABN AMRO Open quarterfinals, but Hubert Hurkacz and Holger Rune, two other seeds, had less luck.

Sinner handled the challenge posed by two-time Rotterdam champion Gael Monfils to record his 12th straight victory dating back to the Davis Cup Finals last year. In a contest where an early break of serve held up in each set, the top seed won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

In the second set, “It was one shaky game of mine in the second set. Things change so fast,” Sinner said to ATP Media. However,  “But I still believe these kind of matches help you a lot, especially on the mental part. When you don’t play your best tennis, you still try to find some (way) to win.”

Sinner only found himself in a decisive set twice this season—the first occasion occurring after his thrilling comeback from two sets down against Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final. This time, he defeated the French wild card. Against Monfils, the world No. 4 improved to 5-1 and thereafter had nothing but positive things to say about his opponent.

“He’s an incredible showman. All the crowd and people, they love him. That’s what this sport needs,” according to Sinner. “Hopefully I can share the court with him as many times as possible. When I came to the tour, he was always nice from the beginning. I think that’s also (something) to admire.”

The 22-year-old, who came in second to Medvedev here the previous year, will try to continue his unbeaten start to 2024 when he takes on Milos Raonic in their first meeting.

Dimitrov, who defeated Marton Fucsovics for the second match in three events, advanced to 12-2 on the year after finishing as the Marseille finalist last week. The No. 6 seed secured a 6-3, 7-5 triumph after going 15 for 19 at the net and saving all three break points on his serve.

Alexander Shevchenko will compete against Dimitrov for a spot in the final four. The 23-year-old defeated third-seeded Holger Rune 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to record his biggest career victory. Shevchenko defeated No. 9-ranked Taylor Fritz in Basel in October to earn his second career Top 10 victory over the global No. 7 player.

Hurkacz was defeated by home favorite Tallon Griekspoor, who saved the day by winning back-to-back tiebreakers.

Griekspoor fought his way past the fourth-seeded Pole, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), in two hours and thirty-four minutes, after preserving two match points to deny Lorenzo Musetti.

For me, this is everything,” Griekspoor remarked. “This is the whole reason why I play tennis, to be able to play these kind of matches against such a great opponent. Such a great friend of mine as well. To be able to win this match is really special, especially here in Rotterdam.”

The Dutchman, who won the grass-court championship at’s-Hertogenbosch in June 2023, is vying for his second ATP title on home soil. Griekspoor faces Emil Ruusuvuori, who defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-3, to get to the semifinals.

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