Jannik Sinner has capped a brilliant breakout season in superb fashion, crushing top seed Alex de Minaur in straight sets to win the Next Gen ATP Finals title in Milan.
The 18-year-old sensation, who entered the Next Gen ATP Finals as a wildcard, produced a stunning performance to cruise past de Minaur 4-2 4-1 4-2 in just 62 minutes, saving all nine break points he faced and breaking the Aussie once in each set.
An extremely pure ball-striker off both wings, Sinner hit through de Minaur’s defence with ease to take out the third edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals, joining Hyeon Chung and Stefanos Tsitsipas as champions.
Chung and Tsitsipas both went on to reach the Australian Open semi-finals after triumphing in Milan.
“I don’t have words,” Sinner said after his victory. “He’s an unbelievable player. I just tried to play my game and not make any errors. I didn’t make many today, so I’m very happy with my performance.
“The week has been unbelievable. The crowd… You can hear them now. I’m very happy… I wouldn’t be here without the wild card, so thanks to everyone. I hope to be back here next year.”
Incredibly, Sinner will be eligible to compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals for the next three years, but if he keeps progressing at the rate he is, he could be challenging for the ATP Finals proper in London.
Jannik Sinner (PA Images)
The Italian, who was a national skiing champion in 2008 and runner-up in 2012, has improved his ranking over 450 spots this year, becoming the youngest player to rank inside the top 100.
Sinner is the youngest Italian Challenger champion in history after winning Bergamo in February as a 17-year-old, while he also claimed the Lexington Challenger, reached his first ATP semi-final in Antwerp last month, won his first Masters 1000 match in Rome and qualified for his maiden Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, pushing former champion Stan Wawrinka in a highly competitive match.
After beating de Minaur, Sinner has two top 20 scalps in the last two months after also defeating Gael Monfils on his way to the Antwerp semi-finals.
Sinner pockets $372,000 courtesy of his run to the Next Gen ATP Finals title, surpassing his career earnings of $274,470 before Milan.
Meanwhile, de Minaur finishes runner-up in Milan for the second straight year after falling to Tsitsipas 12 months ago.
The 20-year-old compiled a great season, especially after missing two months with a groin injury, winning three ATP 250 titles and finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in Basel to end 2019 at No. 18 in the world.
De Minaur will now start preparing for the revamped Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, while Sinner has called time on his season as he begins to look ahead to 2020.