Jannik Sinner highlights why the Big Three are tough to beat after defeat to Rafael Nadal
Italian youngsters Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti gave their more illustrious opponents a scare at the French Open on Monday, but Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still emerged victorious.
Musetti was first up as he found himself two sets to love up against world No 1 Djokovic, but the 18-time Grand Slam winner was the man to move into the quarter-final as the 19-year-old retired with the score 6-7 (7-9), 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 in the Serbian’s favour.
Then later in the day Sinner also had his moments against 13-time French Open champion Nadal as he served for the opening set, but he fell away and the Spaniard won 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.
After the match Sinner explained why the Big Three of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer are difficult to beat.
“I think mentally [Rafa] is very strong,” he said “That’s what I’m trying to do as well, stay strong. I’m trying to not give him any free space.
“Obviously when you play against top guys like Rafa, Roger, or Novak, it’s tough to play against them because they are very strong mentally, which I think we have seen today as well.
“Novak against Lorenzo, [Novak] came back from two sets to love.”
After finding himself 2-0 down in the first set, Sinner started to find his rhythm and broke twice two build a 4-2 advantage and, after another hold, he found himself serving for the set.
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However, Nadal broke to love and never looked back.
“I was up, serving for the set in the first set, but it’s a long way to go to win against Rafa. Obviously very disappointed how it went today. But he played better than me,” he said.
“In the beginning he was playing well. Then at some point he was not pushing the ball that hard anymore, so I went up with the break. Then after he changed it once more. The way to [get] to that level is very long, still very, very long.”
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