Roberto Bautista, champion of the tournament in 2018 and finalist last Sunday in Doha, said goodbye to Dubai Duty Free Tennis this Wednesday when he fell to a player who is one step away from being top with only 19 years: Jannik Sinner. The Italian, who due to his apparent coldness has a character more similar to that of his Austrian ancestors, played a great game and won by 6-4, 3-6 and 7-5 in two hours and 24 minutes. In his first participation in this ATP 500, he will face Russian Karatsev or his compatriot Sonego in the quarterfinals.

The match was decided by small details and perhaps Bautista took an unfair punishment, especially in the first set, in which he always had the intention and the options to break Sinner's service, and in the end he saw how he made a break at his first opportunity, just to get to 5-4 and serve. Jannik added 16 aces, one of the keys to his triumph, and the usual consistency of Roberto, who can hardly be blamed, was not enough to subdue this force of nature, who also has a lot of talent and incredible maturity for his age. He was unfazed by a 32-year veteran in stripes, neither by the boisterous and unstoppable squawking of the birds nor by the prayers that came from a nearby mosque.

The Castellón, who this year alternates a good week and a bad week, he regained ground in a very well played second set, and in the third he was in tow when he conceded a break (4-2) and had to row a lot to equalize and look for at least the tiebreaker. Although when he had it within range, he got tangled up in his turn and did not forgive him Sinner, a tennis player called to do great things on the circuit (he is now virtually 30th in the ranking), a clear aspirant to dominate or at least to share dominance with other rising stars. “I am happy to have won, it was a very tough game. These are the challenges that make me grow,” he said at a press conference.

Table and results.


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