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Tennis In Turin hopeful Sinner wins again in Vienna, Shapovalov advances in St. Petersburg

Jannik Sinner of Italy reacts after winning his first round match against Reilly Opelka of the US at the Erste Bank Open ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, 27 October 2021. EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN BRUNA.

By Ricky Dimon

Jannik Sinner continued his charge toward a potential spot in the Nitto ATP Finals when he defeated Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-2 in round one of the Erste Bank Open on Wednesday afternoon.

Sinner is making a quick turnaround after capturing the Antwerp title last week. Dating back to Antwerp, the 20-year-old Italian has won nine consecutive sets by scores no closer than 6-4, including seven of the nine by an exact 6-2 margin. Sinnner’s hot streak has him within 75 points of Hubert Hurkacz in the live race for the eighth and final spot in the Nitto ATP Finals. Another victory on Thursday would move him to within 30 points of Hurkacz.

Cameron Norrie is just five points behind Sinner in 10th place. The Indian Wells champion will go up against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Vienna second round on Thursday. Interestingly, Auger-Aliassime is right behind Norrie in 11th position but the Canadian needs a huge result in either Vienna and/or Paris because he is 500 points back of the Brit.

Denis Shapovalov of Canada in action against Pablo Andujar of Spain during their first round match of the St.Petersburg Open ATP tennis tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, 27 October 2021. EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV

Denis Shapovalov was in Turin contention after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, but a dreadful summer and fall slump has him out of the picture. The Canadian at least managed to win his first match at the St. Petersburg Open on Wednesday, beating Pablo Andujar 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.

“Definitely very tough to play Pablo [in my first match] of a tournament,” Shapovalov said. “He’s a great player. It was a tough start to the match; I didn’t feel so great, but I just told myself to keep going. Obviously there was a lot of tennis to play, so [I] wanted to really turn it around in the second set and I did a really good job.”

St. Petersburg’s No. 2 seed awaits either Alexander Bublik or Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarterfinals.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.