Sinner Advances to Rotterdam Semis After Raonic Retirement

Sinner Advances to Rotterdam Semis – World No. 1 Jannik Sinner advanced into the semifinals of the Rotterdam Open on Friday, securing a position following an unexpected twist due to Milos Raonic’s injury retirement. With the match at 7-6(4), 1-1 in favor of Sinner, Raonic’s unfortunate withdrawal handed the victory to Sinner. Despite acknowledging his less-than-optimal performance throughout the tournament, Sinner remains a crucial focus for ATP free picks as he prepares to elevate his play against Tallon Griekspoor in the upcoming semifinals.

Sinner Advances to Rotterdam SemisStruggles Continue for Defending Australian Open Champ

The 2023 Australian Open champion has not shown his usual dominant displays in Rotterdam this week. Despite not dropping a set yet, Sinner said he has been “struggling a little bit” to play at the level that saw him claim his first Grand Slam title last month. 

Against Raonic, Sinner fought from behind for much of the opening set. He faced set points at 4-5 before eventually taking the tiebreaker 7-4. With Raonic’s movement clearly hampered by an injury in the second set, Sinner was unable to fully test himself before his opponent retired.

“At the end of the day this is not how you want to win the match,” Sinner said after Raonic shook hands. “He has had so many injuries throughout his career and hopefully he will have a speedy recovery.”

While the victory extends Sinner’s stellar 2023 record to 12-0, the Italian will be looking for an improved display in the semis. Despite battling through matches this week, Sinner’s competitiveness and mental resolve continue to shine through when not at his best.  

Home Hope Griekspoor Awaits in Last Four Clash

After beating Emil Ruusuvuori 7-5, 7-6(4) earlier on Friday, Griekspoor will have strong home support behind him against Sinner. The Dutchman reached his first ATP 500 semifinal with a composed performance, saving all three break points faced.

Griekspoor has already scored one Top 10 win this season, defeating Casper Ruud in Pune. He also took a set off Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open to showcase his potential. Against Sinner, Griekspoor will likely need to raise his game another level to score the upset.

At age 21, Griekspoor represents the next generation of stars coming through behind Sinner. A win over the world No. 1 would firmly establish Griekspoor as a rising force in men’s tennis. It would also end Sinner’s eight-match winning streak. 

With the crowd spurring him on, Griekspoor will be eager to challenge Sinner’s normally clinical game. The Italian’s recent struggles could open the door for an inspired performance from the young Dutch player on Saturday.

De Minaur and Dimitrov Contest Other Semifinal

The other Rotterdam semifinal pits Alex de Minaur against Grigor Dimitrov. De Minaur outlasted second seed Andrey Rublev in three sets in their quarter final clash. Showing great courage and aggression, he hit through Rublev’s power to prevail 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3.   

Meanwhile, Dimitrov won an entertaining match with Alexander Shevchenko 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4. The Bulgarian’s artful game has been on full display this week as he chases a third career ATP 500 title.    

Intriguingly, De Minaur and Dimitrov met at the same stage of this tournament last year. On that occasion, Dimitrov rallied from 4-2 down in the final set decider to stun De Minaur on his birthday. 

With 22 match wins already in 2023, Dimitrov comes in as a strong favorite once again. But De Minaur will be determined to finally get past the Bulgarian at the third attempt. The match guarantees a first-time finalist in Rotterdam this year.

Sinner Entering Uncharted Territory  

While the Australian Open instantly raised Sinner’s profile and reputation, a title in Rotterdam would mark different territory. Outside of the Grand Slams and Masters 1000s, Sinner’s title haul has remained thin for a world No. 1 player.

Victory on Sunday would give Sinner his first ever ATP 500 trophy. It would cap a stellar five-year rise to become the youngest player ever to simultaneously hold a Grand Slam title, world No. 1 ranking and an ATP 500 trophy. 

Physically and mentally, the signs are there that Sinner has the game to dominate at all levels for years to come. But the Italian needs statement performances like the one his Finals opponent will hope to produce. 

Griekspoor may be the underdog, but the chance to topple a history-chasing No. 1 will provide huge motivation for those following the action on Canadian betting websites. Over five sets, Sinner ruthlessly closed out Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final. If the Italian can replicate that form, he will take some stopping on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam, presenting a fascinating scenario for fans and bettors alike.