Sinner outlasts McDonald in final set to win Citi Open

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON — It felt like Jannik Sinner had the upper hand through almost his entire match against Mackie McDonald.

Finally, after nearly three hours, Sinner could celebrate a victory and a tournament championship.

“When you’re up always with the score and then you cannot close it out, it’s not easy,” Sinner said. “I tried to somehow stay calm and work for my chances.”

Sinner became the first teenager to win an ATP 500 event, beating McDonald 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 to take the Citi Open title. It was a struggle for the fifth-seeded Sinner. McDonald fought off 10 set points before losing the first set, and Sinner failed to convert two match points while up 5-2 in the third.

McDonald rallied to make it 5-all in the final set, but he ultimately fell short. Sinner finally won when McDonald’s backhand went into the net, and he celebrated by holding up his racquet with one hand and a No. 1 sign with the other.

“I dug as deep as I could,” McDonald said during the on-court ceremony afterward. “Obviously, Jannik is a great young player and he pushed me really hard today, and I think I left it all out there.”

Sinner, who turns 20 on Aug. 16, won his third ATP title and second this year. He was the first Italian finalist in this tournament’s 52-year history, and he became the event’s third-youngest champion, behind 18-year-old Andy Roddick in 2001 and 19-year-old Juan Martin del Potro in 2008.

Teenagers had been 0-5 in ATP 500 finals since the category was created in 2009.

“When you see somebody is the youngest or whatever, I don’t put much weight on that,” Sinner said. “You know, there are a lot of players who have done much, much better than me. It’s not about who is the youngest or whatever.

“I just want to improve, working hard.”

McDonald, a 26-year-old American playing in his first ATP final, made Sinner work. The second set was the first that Sinner dropped in this tournament, and after the Italian went up a break early in the third, McDonald battled back.

Sinner broke McDonald’s serve again to end the match.

Although Sinner took the first set, McDonald set the tone for the match by fighting off all those set points. He withstood six of them with Sinner up 5-4, and the other four were at 6-5. McDonald had his serve broken three times in the set, and Sinner had his broken twice.

In the doubles final, Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan of Japan beat Neal Skupski of Britain and Michael Venus of New Zealand 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Elena Rybakina hits 10 aces in Miami for 12th straight win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina extended her winning streak to 12 matches by delivering 10 aces – her fourth consecutive outing with at least that many – in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 25th-seeded Martina Trevisan in the Miami Open quarterfinals.

Rybakina has 46 aces through four matches at the hard-court tournament in Florida and a WTA-leading 201 this season.

The 23-year-old, who represents Kazakhstan, improved to 20-4 in 2023, including a run to the Australian Open final in January and a title at Indian Wells, California, last week.

She is trying to become only the fifth player to win the women’s trophies at Indian Wells and Miami in the same season. Top-ranked Iga Swiatek did it a year ago; she withdrew from Miami this time because of a rib injury.

“Of course it would be amazing to achieve something like that,” the 10th-seeded Rybakina said about the prospect of completing what’s known as the Sunshine Double, “but it’s still far away.”

So far in Rybakina’s career, 13 of her 18 semifinal appearances have come on hard courts. She will face No. 3 Jessica Pegula for a berth in the final after the American fought off two match points and outlasted No. 27 Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a match that ended just before 1:30 a.m. after play had been delayed by rain.

“I haven’t been that physically tired in just a really long time,” Pegula said. “Just the humidity was taking so much out of me, and I haven’t been able to play in humidity like that in a while. It was just really tough, so really, it was just pure will.”

Trevisan reached the French Open semifinals in 2022.

In fourth-round men’s action Tuesday, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-4 by No. 14 Karen Khachanov, while defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner all beat seeded opponents in straight sets.

Alcaraz, who returned to No. 1 in the ATP rankings last week, got past Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting against Fritz, the top-ranked American man and seeded ninth in Miami.

Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune. That put Fritz into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances in Miami – and his first matchup against Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain who won the U.S. Open in September for his first Grand Slam title.

“I’m really excited for it,” Fritz said. “I think that a lot of people are really excited for that, too.”

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori, a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 winner against No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp.

No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, forced to start late and off his scheduled court after the rain, beat Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-2. He will face American Christopher Eubanks, who edged Adrian Mannarino in a pair of tiebreakers.

Khachanov will play Francisco Cerundolo, a semifinalist in Miami last year, in the other men’s quarterfinal.

Fritz, Sinner reach Miami Open quarterfinals with 2-set wins

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner beat seeded opponents in straight sets at the Miami Open to move into the quarterfinals.

No. 9 Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune.

That put Fritz, the highest-ranked American man, into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances at the hard-court tournament.

He will face either No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz or Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul next. Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami.

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp or unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori.