Aljaz Bedene rallied from a set down to upset fifth seed Jannik Sinner 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) on Wednesday at the Open Sud de France.
The 31-year-old was overpowered in the early stages of the match, but he moved up the court and took the initiative in baseline rallies to turn the match in his favour. Bedene landed 14 aces throughout the match and closed the net well in the final-set tie-break to advance in two hours and 39 minutes.
“In the first set, [Sinner] was the better player… Afterwards, I became more aggressive and was making less mistakes. I think that decided it,” said Bedene, in an on-court interview. “On the important points, I was there. I didn’t lose my focus.”
Bedene is the first player outside the Top 10 to defeat Sinner indoors in a year. Sinner entered the encounter on a 10-match indoor winning streak against players outside the Top 10, which dated back to his quarter-final loss to Pablo Carreno Busta at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in February 2020.
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Bedene gains revenge for his third-round loss to Sinner at the Great Ocean Road Open earlier this month. The World No. 60, who owns a 2-1 ATP Head2Head record against Sinner, will face Egor Gerasimov in the second round. Gerasimov booked his spot in the second round with a 7-6(8), 6-1 victory against Andy Murray on Tuesday.
Lorenzo Sonego reached his first quarter-final of the year with a 6-3, 6-2 win against #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda. The seventh seed converted three of his five break points to move past the Delray Beach runner-up in 74 minutes. Sonego will face second seed David Goffin or French wild card Benjamin Bonzi for a place in the semi-finals.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina outlasted fellow Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 to set up a second-round clash with fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz. The 21-year-old created 15 break points and took six of his opportunities to claim victory in two hours and 31 minutes.
French qualifier Gregoire Barrere won 65 per cent of his second-serve return points (20/31) to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-4. Last year’s quarter-finalist will face top seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round.