ATP Tour: Sinner survives top-class serving from Struff to reach semis in Halle

Halle (Germany): World No.1 Jannik Sinner survived a strong challenge from a brilliant serving from Jan-Lennard Struff to advance into the semifinals of the Halle Open tennis tournament on Friday. Struff hit 18 aces and saved 16 of 18 break points -— including all 11 in the second and third sets -— but could not pull off the upset against the new No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

The Italian’s 6-2, 6-7(1), 7-6(3) result was his third consecutive three-set win in Halle, after earlier victories against Tallon Griekspoor and Fabian Marozsan. Sinner lost a tie-break in each of the three matches.

Playing in his first event as World No. 1, Sinner has yet to meet a seeded opponent. That trend will continue in Saturday’s semis when he takes on Zhang Zhizhen or Christopher Eubanks. Sinner is bidding to become the eighth man in ATP Rankings history to win the title in his first event as No. 1, and the first to do it since Andy Murray at the 2016 ATP Finals.

Against Struff, the Italian found early success by attacking his opponent’s backhand, breaking twice in the opening set. But Struff lifted his aggression in the second, particularly on his forehand, and stepped in on Sinner’s second serve to fight back. Sinner won 67 percent of his second-serve points in the first set followed by just 36 percent in the second set, according to Infosys ATP Stats.

Two double faults by Sinner at 2-2 in the third set helped Struff create his first break point as the match clock struck two hours, but the Italian fought it off and the set moved quickly toward a tie-break. The third-set tie-break was Struff’s 10th decisive tie-break of 2024 (5-5, including his Halle opener) and Sinner’s first.

The victory improved Sinner to 3-0 in his Lexus ATP head-to-head against Struff, whom he beat earlier this season in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo.


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