Sinner's stunning debut run carries him into last 16

Italian teen makes Paris debut look like a promenade through Bois de Boulogne following straight-sets win over Coria

Jannik Sinner, Roland Garros 2020, third round© Loïc Wacziak/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

He came, he saw, he conquered - again. Even though he has looked quite flawless through three rounds, Italian teenager Jannik Sinner is still on a constant search for ways to improve his blossoming game. 

Sinner, who turned 19 on August 16 and became the youngest player to reach the second week at Roland-Garros since Novak Djokovic in 2006, saw every experience as a challenge and a chance to tack on layers to his skill-set. 

"I still have to learn very much about playing Grand Slams,” the reserved Italian said after defeating Argentina's Federico Coria 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 in heavy, soggy conditions on Friday. “I'm still young, I can improve everything.” 

The precocious Italian is more concerned with expanding his tennis toolbox than celebrating the fact he has ripped through the first week of the draw on his Roland-Garros debut.

As he closed out his opponent on Friday, converting his third match point to clinch the victory in two hours and 30 minutes on Court 14, his muted reaction said it all. 

He hardly lifted a finger in celebration, just a tiny smile that spread across his face as he turned and looked in the direction of his team. 

Sinner said that Friday was a big challenge. Conditions were the slowest he had experienced all week and he approached the net more than normal, as he looked for ways to finish points on his terms. 

“Today was not easy because it was very slow, so you had to move him a lot, it was quite physical as well today, so [I was] trying to go to the net sometimes," Sinner said. "That's the part where I have to improve most, to cover the net in the right way.”

The victory sets up a fourth-round clash with No.6 seed Alexander Zverev on Sunday. For Sinner, it represents another chance to see where he stands against the tour's top dogs. Win or lose, he’ll be better from the experience. 

“Just trying to improve day after day,” he said. “I mean obviously tomorrow I will go on court and try to improve every shot, which is the main goal. Obviously playing match after match that's important as well.

“Putting that what you're doing on practice sessions, trying to put it in the match, so that's what I'm trying to do. Sometimes it gets good, sometimes it gets worse, but at the end of the day it's tennis.”

Alexander Zverev, Roland Garros 2020, third round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

The 23-year-old Zverev, seeded No.6 this fortnight, is through to the Roland-Garros last 16 for a third consecutive year. The German broke through early on tour and knows what it's like being a teenager with serious weapons. Now, Zverev find himself the more experienced figure on the court against someone like Sinner, who is contesting just the fourth major of his career.

"He's quite incredible, I don't think he's lost a set yet, right?" said Zverev of the 19-year-old Sinner.

"He's somebody that is definitely coming up and playing really well right now. Somebody who has a lot of power, so we'll see how the match goes. I feel like I'm playing better and maybe have a little bit more experience, but the young guys they have no fear, they have no reason to be nervous, so it can go both ways."