Jannik Sinner reaches maiden grand slam semi-final

Jannik Sinner reaches maiden grand slam semi-final

Jannik Sinner lived up to his billing as Wimbledon’s poster boy by booking a grand slam semi-final place for the first time in his career.

The Italian featured prominently in an official poster alongside Carlos Alcaraz as the future of the tournament.

His presence on illustrator Grant Gruenhaupt’s artwork raised eyebrows but he is living up to the hype after reaching a grand slam semi-final for the first time with a masterful 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-2 win over Roman Safiullin.

He is the youngest man to reach this stage of Wimbledon since 2007, a record that will only last until tomorrow.

But the eighth seed certainly has the game for success at SW19, dropping just two sets on his way to the last four, and was too good for the Russian, who was enjoying a breakout grand slam.

His power from the baseline and mobility around court will stand him in good stead for what is now likely to be the toughest test possible of his credentials by facing Novak Djokovic in the last four.

He said: “What should I say, it means a lot to me, we put a lot of work in and many, many hours and a lot of sacrifices for this moment.

Wimbledon 2023 – Day Nine – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Jannik Sinner has impressed on his route to the semi-finals at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA)

“It means a lot, it is a very nice moment for me. I just try my best every match, I am very happy to be in the semi-finals.

“He is a very tough player to play against.”

Sinner took early control of the match and forced break points at 2-2 though could not convert, but made no mistake at 4-4, chasing down a drop shot to set up the break.

Some fierce serving allowed him to quickly take the first set and when he struck early in the second to lead 3-1 it looked like it would be over very quickly.

Jannik Sinner, left, shakes hands with Roman Safiullin
Jannik Sinner, left, shakes hands with Roman Safiullin (John Walton/PA)

But Safiullin, who had never been past the second round at a grand slam before this tournament, was able to recapture the form that had seen him beat Roberto Bautista Agut and Denis Shapovalov and reeled off five successive games to level up.

Sinner was able to wrestle back control and regained the lead thanks to four successive games at the end of the third set.

He fended off break points at the start of the fourth and that proved pivotal as he made his move at 3-2, sealing a break as Safiullin pulled a forehand wide.

Sinner wrapped things up quickly after that to book his first last-four appearance at a grand slam.