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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, October 18, 2019

 
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Eighteen-year-old Jannik Sinner edged Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 surging into the Antwerp final four as the youngest ATP semifinalist in five years.

Photo credit: European Open Facebook

Jannik Sinner knows all about riding peaks and valleys of sport.

The 18-year-old Italian chose tennis over a competitive skiing career five years ago.

Watch: Federer's 2020 Olympic Goal

Today, Sinner sailed into history with the conviction of a man streaking down hill.

Wild card Sinner stopped Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 roaring into the Antwerp semifinal.

Sinner is the youngest semifinalist in tournament history and the youngest ATP semifinalist since a 17-year-old Borna Coric reached the final four at the 2014 Basel.

"I can just say thanks for the wild card," Sinner said. "It was not easy. At the end I was shaking. I'm happy to be in the semifinals.

"I just tried to play deep and waiting for a good ball for going to the net. Sometimes I've done it very good. In the last game I missed aneasy volley, I tried to reset and keep going." 



The world No. 119 fought into his first semifinal a day after shocking top-seeded Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2.




Moving fluidly and striking smoothly, Sinner has seldom looked stressed producing the most dynamic tennis of his brief pro career despite his post-match confession to a case of the jitters.

The teenager who started this season ranked No. 553 showed the skills that make him such a highly-touted NextGen star.

The 6'2" Italian owns an expansive strike zone, can belt the high ball and dig out the low ball with equal aggression of his forehand.

Sinner understands how to use his serve to set up a first-strike forehand. It's a pattern he used effectively down the stretch today. Sinner served 64 percent with 10 aces fighting off four of five break points.

The teen clad in the yellow baseball cap unleashed a five-point surge to break in the sixth game then back up the break at love for a 5-2 lead in the decider. Sinner saved two break points closing the victory on his first match point.




Next up for Sinner is a Saturday semifinal against fourth-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

Wawrinka warded off Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-2. The three-time Grand Slam champion saved two of three break points in a two hour, 14-minute win. 

 

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