In an exciting first chapter of a future ATP Tour rivalry, 19-year-old Jannik Sinner took down 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby in a tight 7-6(2), 6-1 battle on Saturday to reach the Citi Open final in his tournament debut.

Sinner, seeded fifth, has yet to drop a set all week in Washington, D.C., an emphatic return to form after arriving in the American capital on a four-match losing streak. After returning to his winning ways against Emil Ruusuvuori in his opening match, Sinner has navigated past three American opponents in 12th seed Sebastian Korda, Steve Johnson and wild card Brooksby to reach his third final of the year. 

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Playing Brooksby? Get Ready For A Battle…

The Italian will await the winner of 2015 Washington champion Kei Nishikori and unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald. He seeks his second ATP Tour title of the year after starting the season with a victory in Melbourne, and the third title of his career. 

The No. 24-ranked Italian was made to work against Brooksby, who has gone from strength to strength in his breakthrough year. The 19-year-old American reached his first final in his ATP Tour debut in Newport, and maintained the momentum in Washington as he reached the semi-final without dropping a set – including a victory over second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime along the way. 

There was little to separate Sinner and Brooksby in a tightly contested opening set. Neither player was able to create a break opportunity across the first 10 games, with Brooksby’s unorthodox style keeping Sinner contained from the back of the court. The American kept his opponent on the move and pushed Sinner deep behind the baseline, before going to the double-handed backhand drop shot to great success.

But as the match went on, Sinner seemed to be able to read the Brooksby game better. The Italian dialed up the aggression on his serve, troubling Brooksby with a high-bouncing kick serve to save three set points at 5-6 and send them into a tie-break. Sinner took control from there, reeling off the last four points in a row to edge through the set in 57 minutes.

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With the opening set in the bag – the first set that Brooksby had dropped all week long – the floodgates seemed to open for Sinner as he settled into the contest. Brooksby, who normally dictates play with his backhand, saw his unforced error count rise as 15 of his 16 mishits came from that wing. Sinner capitalised, breaking twice and reeling off the last five games in a row to seal the victory. 

Did You Know?
Sinner is the first Italian finalist in Washington, D.C. tournament history. His appearance in the semi-final marked only the third time that an Italian has made the last four since the event started in 1969 (Barazzutti in 1980, Furlan in 1996). 



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