Sinner outlasts McDonald to capture ATP Washington title

Jannik Sinner stretches for a forehand against Mackenzie McDonald during the singles final match at Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Centre, Washington August 8, 2021. — Reuters pic
Jannik Sinner stretches for a forehand against Mackenzie McDonald during the singles final match at Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Centre, Washington August 8, 2021. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, Aug 9 — Mexico’s Abraham Ancer birdied the second playoff hole to win the World Golf Championships Italy’s Jannik Sinner, the ATP’s top-ranked teen, captured his third career title on Sunday, outlasting American Mackenzie McDonald 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the Citi Open final.

World number 24 Sinner, a 19-year-old who won at Sofia last year and Melbourne in January, took the top prize of US$350,755 (RM1.5 million) on the Washington hardcourts.

McDonald, ranked 107th and playing in his first ATP final, denied Sinner on 16 of 21 break chances, 10 in the first set, and battled from 5-2 down to level the final set before falling.

Sinner became the youngest ATP 500-level champion in 146 events since the category was created in 2009, breaking the mark 20-year-old Alexander Zverev set at Washington in 2017.

Eight days shy of his 20th birthday, Sinner became the third-youngest Washington champion after 18-year-old Andy Roddick in 2001 and 19-year-old Juan Martin del Potro in 2008.

Sinner, who made the last eight at the 2020 French Open, was the first Italian finalist in the US capital event’s 52-year history.

Sinner will jump to a career-high 15th in Monday’s rankings while McDonald will rise to 64th.

In the third set, Sinner broke for a 2-0 edge when McDonald netted a backhand volley and later saved three break points to hold for a 4-1 lead.

Sinner held again to 5-2 on a service winner, then dropped two match points in the eighth game — Sinner netting a forehand and McDonald hitting a forehand winner — and made four unforced errors in the ninth, allowing McDonald to break back and hold to reach 5-5.

Sinner held at love on his ninth ace and broke to claim the match after two hours and 53 minutes when McDonald netted a backhand.

Sinner, broken only three times in his first four matches, was broken three times in the first two sets by the 26-year-old American.

Sinner broke on an overhead smash for a 3-1 lead, then saved three break points in the next game before McDonald ripped a forehand down the line winner to break back to 3-2.

After breaking at love in the sixth game, Sinner served for the set in the ninth game, but McDonald broke again on a forehand winner.

McDonald saved six break points in a tense 10-minute 10th game before holding to pull level.

Sinner held at love to 6-5 and broke again in the 12th game, although McDonald denied him on break points with two aces up the middle, a service winner and a forehand winner before netting a backhand to finally surrender the set.

In the second set, McDonald saved two break points to hold for 3-3, then broke when Sinner netted a backhand and held twice to force a third. — AFP

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