10:28 AM GMT February 08, 2021
The 19-year-old fired 12 aces and saved six of eight break points to earn his eighth consecutive victory. Sinner ended his 2020 ATP Tour campaign with five straight wins en route to his maiden ATP Tour crown at the Sofia Open.
Earlier in the day, Sinner was forced to save a set point in a first-set tie-break en route to a 7-6(6), 6-2 win against Aljaz Bedene. The script was repeated in his meeting with Kecmanovic. After failing to convert eight set points of his own, the Italian had to save three set points in another first-set tie-break before claiming victory in just under two hours.
“Every tournament is different. Every day [and] match is different. Sometimes you feel great. Sometimes you feel tired. Sometimes you have pain somewhere. So every day is different,” said Sinner. “Today was different, playing two matches in one day. It's a long day obviously. I'm happy that I got through.”
Standing between Sinner and a place in his second tour-level championship match will be second seed Karen Khachanov. The Russian, who defeated Kevin Anderson in his first match of the day, rallied from a set down to beat Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and 36 minutes.
Khachanov won his only previous ATP Head2Head encounter against Sinner in dramatic fashion at last year’s US Open. The 24-year-old recovered from two sets down to defeat the Italian 3-6, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(4) in three hours and 44 minutes.
In the top half of the draw, Stefano Travaglia ended Hubert Hurkacz’s unbeaten start to 2021 with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph. The Italian, who beat Antalya runner-up Alexander Bublik 6-1, 7-5 earlier in the day, converted five of six break points against Hurkacz to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final.
“It was a really complicated day because [we had to play] two matches in one day… It was really tough, but I think I adapted very good, and I played my best tennis today, [especially] in the third set against Hurkacz.”
Hurkacz entered his second match of the day with a 6-0 record in 2021. The Pole opened his 2021 season with a title run at last month’s Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.
“Today was a long day at Melbourne Park. I played pretty decent [in] those two matches. At the end, Stefano played really well, so that's good for him.”
Thiago Monteiro guaranteed a first-time ATP Tour finalist at the ATP 250. The Brazilian followed up his 7-6(3), 6-3 win against #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz with a solid 6-4, 6-4 victory over 11th seed Jordan Thompson. Monteiro and Travaglia will meet for the first time in the semi-finals.