Sinner confident Italian tennis is on the up

·2-min read
Australian Open

(Reuters) - Jannik Sinner said Italian tennis is in great shape and has predicted a bright future for fellow 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti after the pair notched up wins at ATP 500 events this week.

While Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini led Italy to the final of the team-based ATP Cup last month in Melbourne, 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals winner Sinner has also made a name for himself as one of the brightest prospects on the circuit.

Sinner last month became the youngest player to win two ATP titles since Novak Djokovic in 2006 by claiming the Great Ocean Road Open after his win at the Sofia Open at the end of 2020.

On Wednesday, he took down Spain's former number nine Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 3-6 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals in Dubai.

A day earlier, qualifier Musetti completed his first top-10 career win against Argentine Diego Schwartzman in Acapulco, Mexico, before defeating American Frances Tiafoe to reach the last eight.

"Everyone is different, has different styles, so I think that's very exciting," Sinner told reporters in Dubai.

"Musetti is a big, big talent. He can do everything with the ball already, so he's already physically strong. I think he's a great player ... He's serving big and going for shots.

"I'm excited for Italian tennis and I think everyone can do well in every tournament."

Sinner reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at last year's French Open and spent his 14-day isolation in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne as Rafa Nadal's hitting partner.

The 32nd-ranked Italian said he was learning more about his own game and feels more comfortable on court.

For Musetti, the victories in Acapulco this week are his first Tour-level wins on hardcourts.

"The start of the season is really good," he said after his win against Schwartzman.

"It's not easy to rise because of the rankings now, it's still a little bit frozen, but I'm playing good ... I'm trying to reach them and break into the top 100, that's my goal."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)