Jannik Sinner trounces Ugo Humbert, sets up Rafael Nadal clash in Rome

The 19-year-old Italian tennis player needed only 90 minutes to beat the Frenchman in straight sets.

Jannik Sinner in a file photo; Credit: Jannik Sinner Twitter

Jannik Sinner was at his best in the Italian Open, easing past Ugo Humbert of France 6-2, 6-4 in 90 minutes on Center Court at the Foro Italico. As a result, he has set up a mouth-watering second-round clash against Rafael Nadal, the nine-time former champion. He will now meet his training partner in Australia three months ago. They met for the first time in October last year in the French Open quarterfinals, which Nadal won 7-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Earlier, the 19-year-old Sinner started the stronger of the two players by gaining an early break in the third game. Humbert tried hard to match the World No. 18 but struggled to alter the scoreboard, thereby losing the one-sided first set in no time.

The Frenchman started the second set with a positive attitude and made life difficult for Sinner. The explosive start worked as Humbert was gifted a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a double fault. But Sinner refocused and instantly responded in a run of four successive games to gain a 4-2 advantage. There was no looking back as the Italian comfortably saw out the set to seal the match.

Elsewhere, 2016 semi-finalist Kei Nishikori defeated home favourite Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4 in 80 minutes. The Japanese star will next play Spanish No. 11 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round.

Murray practises with Djokovic

Even though Andy Murray is not competing in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia this week, he is at the Foro Italico to train with the top tennis players. The former World No. 1 has not played a tournament since Rotterdam in early March due to a left groin injury. The 33-year-old has practiced with some of the biggest stars at the Foro Italico, including World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

“I haven’t seen him in a while, and it was great to hit with him. I thought he played very well on the court,” Djokovic said. “He moves well, considering its clay, which is not the best surface for his hips. But considering what he has been through lately, I think it seems like he”s been feeling well on the court. That’s what he’s saying, and that’s what it appears on the court itself.”

“We had a nice chat and had a few laughs on the court as well. It was just great. It brought back the old times when we spent a lot of time on the court together, whether it was training or playing against each other.”

Sportslumo Desk

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