Umag, 31 July 2022 – Italian Jannik Sinner won his sixth career title on the ATP tour, and his first on a clay court, after defeating Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz 6:7 (5), 6:1, 6:1 at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, keeping him from defending the title he won last year. Sinner is the third Italian to win the Stella Maris Resort trophy, joining Fabio Fognini and Marco Cecchinato.

As it would turn out, the crucial moment of the match was the start of the second set, when Alcaraz failed to make any of the six break points for a 2:0 lead. Having lost these chances, he started stringing one mistake after another, while Sinner started making flawless returns. By the end of the match, Alcaraz managed to win only one more game. The Spaniard’s final chance to threaten Sinner was at 1:1 in the third set, but once he lost the break point, there was no coming back.

“It was undoubtedly crucial that I managed to withstand the pressure at the start of the second set,” said Sinner. “Once you win a tournament, you get the chance to relax for a bit, so on Monday morning I’m going jet skiing. I go back to training in the afternoon, but on a hard court, so I can prepare for the series of tournaments in America.”

This was the first Umag final to be played in three sets since 2011, and the third one in 32 years of its existence to be played by the first and second seeded players. His win against Alcaraz helped Sinner maintain his perfect record against Spanish players this year, which now stands at 8-0.

“The second game of the second set was crucial. I had some chances I didn't use, and when you’re playing against a player like Jannik, you can’t afford to make such mistakes. After that, his returns on the first and second serve were impeccable, and I couldn’t find a way to stop him,” said Alcaraz.

The Italian players took everything they could in Umag this year, as Bolelli and Fognini won the doubles tournament the previous evening. Did their win, and particularly the fashion in which they achieved it, provide some extra motivation?

“I wasn’t at the court when they were playing, I was already at the villa, and it is pretty far from the court, but I could hear the cheering very well. What they did was incredible,” said Sinner about the Italian pair who managed to save a staggering eight match points in the final match.