Jannik Sinner defeats Alex de Minaur to capture title

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 13:  Jannik Sinner of Italy celebrates against Alex De Minaur of Australia in the Singles Final during Day Seven of the National Bank Open, part of the Hologic ATP Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 13, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Sinner is the youngest player to win the men’s draw at the National Bank Open since Alexander Zverev in 2017. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Jannik Sinner defeated Alex de Minaur in an 89-minute masterclass, 6-4, 6-1 to win the men’s singles tournament at the National Bank Open on Sunday.

He survived as a seeded player in a tournament defined by upsets and his victory in Toronto is a precursor to a new wave of imminent stardom for the 21-year-old, widely considered to be one of the brightest talents in the sport.

It is the first ATP 1000-level victory of Sinner’s career and he’s the youngest winner of the men’s singles tournament since Alexander Zverev, who captured the event in 2017. Sinner had previously lost in the Miami Open final in 2021 and again this year, falling in straight sets to World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev earlier this summer.

Sinner ran the gauntlet and is a deserving winner of Toronto’s events. He punished de Minaur with his crushing power game from the baseline and survived two breaks in the first game before upping his level and dispatching de Minaur with relative ease in the second set. Sinner won 72% of his points on first serve and used his velocity to wear down de Minaur throughout the match.

One of the rising superstars of the sport, Sinner will reach a career-high No. 6 in the next edition of the ATP rankings. A stream of red confetti rained down on centre court at Sobey’s Stadium as Sinner was crowned champion. In many ways, this could be a defining moment of Sinner’s brilliant career to date and he will be a constant, leading force in tennis for the next decade.

The 21-year-old defeated compatriot Matteo Berrettini in straight sets during the second round, advanced to the quarterfinals against Gael Monfils when Andy Murray withdraw from their third-round match due to an abdominal strain, defeated Monfils in a three-set thriller, then downed Tommy Paul and de Minaur in consecutive straight-set victories. Sinner won a 46-shot rally against Paul in the seventh game of the second set in Saturday’s semifinal, one of the defining moments of a thrilling week of tennis.

Last week, Sinner attended the ATP draw ceremony and wasn’t particularly thrilled about the pre-tournament focus being centered around his primary rival, Carlos Alcaraz, who was bested by Paul on Friday evening. Sinner is the rare player to have defeated Alcaraz three times, sporting an even head-to-head record, and his victory in Toronto signifies that he should be included alongside the Wimbledon champion when discussing how the post-2000 born generation is now at the forefront of tennis, surpassing the golden generation in a week where the circuit’s veterans — Monfils, Andy Murray, and Milos Raonic among them — turned back the clock. Sinner wanted to separate himself from Alcaraz on his own merit and he made the most of the week, soaking up the increased attention from fans as the tournament progressed.

This victory signifies Sinner’s permanent place alongside Alcaraz as the future of men’s tennis and he’ll be one of the leading contenders at the US Open in September, where he was ousted in the quarterfinals last year.

“I want to say thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, ball kids, umpires for making this event so special. It will be in my heart forever,” Sinner said during his on-court interview Sunday.

de Minaur is expected to rise seven spots from No. 19 to No. 12 in the latest update of the ATP rankings. He quickly became a fan favourite throughout the week in Toronto in large part due to his nearly unmatched court coverage and foot speed. Gabriel Diallo remarked that de Minaur was the most competitive player he’s ever faced, and de Minaur spoke about cultivating a tenacious aura throughout his career that ultimately paid off against his opponents this week.

Prior to Sunday’s loss, de Minaur dropped one set en route to the final. The 24-year-old is entering the apex of his career and it’ll be compelling to see how his terrific pace and stamina may pay off in a run at the US Open. de Minaur has never advanced further than the second round of a Grand Slam, but his form in Toronto may be the precursor to a new tier of success.

Sinner should be lauded for his victory, especially as the last seed standing. The other nine seeded players didn’t make it to the weekend, punctuated by Friday’s events, where Medvedev and Alcaraz were upset in successive order. One of the most punishing hitters on the circuit, Sinner’s blistering forehand, service game and ability to control matches from the baseline, with the capability to beat many of the world’s best players at the net will surely make him one of the most dangerous players of the next era.

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