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Sinner surges into Monte-Carlo QFs


Jannik Sinner reached his third ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season Thursday when he defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-2 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Riding an eight-match winning streak, the Italian navigated through an early exchange of breaks before increasing his level at 4-4 in the opening set, breaking the German’s serve and proceeding to close the set behind his own delivery.

The 22-year-old struck the ball with weight, despite an uncharacteristic 10 unforced errors in the first set, and sent Struff from corner-to-corner in heavy-hitting baseline rallies to advance after one hour, 17 minutes. Sinner is now 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head series with the World No. 25. The pair’s previous meeting came last month in Indian Wells.

“He’s a dangerous player for sure. I had to be very, very careful,” Sinner said. “I broke him quite early and then he broke me back. I knew it was going to be really tough, but I guess I returned really well, especially on second serves. I can be very happy.”

A two-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist, Sinner’s quarter-final opponent Friday will be seventh seed Holger Rune or ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov, whom the Italian beat in the Miami final. Sinner lost to Rune in last year’s Monte-Carlo semi-finals.

“I’m happy. Every match is different. I’m happy again to be in the next round,” Sinner said. “It’s going to be really tough. Against both players I’ve always had very tough battles, tough matches. I’m looking forward to it and as always, I’m going to have to raise the level if I want to win. Let’s see.”

The second seed leads the ATP Tour in wins (24) and titles (3) this season, having triumphed at the Australian Open, in Rotterdam and Miami. Sinner must reach the last four in the Principality to remain the No. 2 player in the PIF ATP Rankings.

Struff, 33, earned his 200th tour-level match win Tuesday when he beat Borna Coric in the second round. The 6’4” German, who made last year’s Madrid final, was aiming for his fourth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final appearance.

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