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Sinner Improves Turin Standing With Antwerp Title, Karatsev Defeats Cilic in Moscow

Jannik Sinner of Italy poses with the trophy after winning 6-2, 6-2 against Diego Schwartzman from Argentina during the final of the European Open ATP world tour tennis tournament in Antwerp, Belgium, 24 October 2021. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET



By Ricky Dimon

The Jannik Sinner-Cameron Norrie flip-flop in the Nitto ATP Finals race is still going strong. Norrie passed Sinner by making a surprise run to the Indian Wells Masters title earlier this month. Sinner passed him back by lifting the European Open Trophy on Sunday.

Sinner’s 6-2, 6-2 rout of Diego Schwartzman propelled the 20-year-old Italian to 10th on the Turin list. He is effectively No. 9 because Rafael Nadal is out for the year, and he is just 110 points behind Hubert Hurkacz for the eighth and final spot. Norrie is a mere five points back of Sinner.

Both Hurkacz and Norrie would have benefited from a Schwartzman win, but the second-seeded Argentine had little chance against an on-fire Sinner. The top seed struck eight aces, won 91 percent of his first-serve points, and saved the only two break points he faced.

“I felt great on court,” Sinner assured. “I moved well. Today I also served better, I think. I felt great, but in tennis every day is different. You have to be careful. I think I played well the whole tournament, to be honest, from the first point to the last point.

“You are the best guy on tour,” he told Schwartzman during the trophy ceremony. “Everyone likes you. You are the best friend of everyone.”

Meanwhile, at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow the home crowd was treated to an Aslan Karatsev triumph. One of the breakout stars of 2021, the Russian rolled over Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4 in Sunday’s final.

Aslan Karatsev of Russia poses with his trophy after winning the men’s singles final match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the Kremlin Cup tennis tournament in Moscow, Russia, 24 October 2021. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV



“It is a dream come true,” Karatsev commented. “It is a tournament where I have played in qualifying at and now I am winning the tournament. Thank you for all of your support. It was a very nervous final game, I hit a double fault and then on break point there was that long rally, but I managed to win it in the end.”

The world No. 19 can boost his own Turin hopes with a title this week in St. Petersburg, although no matter what he will need a big result at next week’s Paris Masters.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.