Novak Djokovic says it was ‘not a big surprise’ to see Jannik Sinner beat Andrey Rublev at the Barcelona Open on Friday.
Rublev has arguably been the form player in the world this year, even beating Rafael Nadal on the clay of Monte-Carlo earlier this month.
Sinner, though, was able to dismiss the big-hitting Russian in straight sets in their quarterfinal clash to set up a shootout with Stefanos Tsitsipas for a spot in Sunday’s final.
Djokovic played Sinner himself in Monte-Carlo, and was troubled by the 19-year-old, so while he says the Italian’s defeat of Rublev was an eye-catching result, he wasn’t very surprised to see it.
“It is obviously a bit of a surprise because Rublev is playing extremely well, and he is one of the best players in the world at the moment,” Djokovic told the press in Belgrade, where he is playing this week.
“On the other hand, we all know that Sinner has the ability to play really well against the top players, and he has had some top wins. So, it’s not a big surprise, so to say.
“And you know, I saw the way he’s been playing in Monte-Carlo as well, I did win that match, but he is hitting the ball well. Italy has a good future of tennis, that’s for sure, with him in charge.”
Rafael Nadal was also asked about Sinner’s result, and he said he was not surprised at all to see it given how his game matches up against that of Rublev.
“I haven’t seen the quarterfinal with Rublev,” Nadal said, “but it’s not a surprise that Jannik beat Andrey. Rublev’s tennis doesn’t bother him much.”
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