Alex de Minaur has been handed passage straight through to the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters after Jannik Sinner withdrew from their clash amid uproar over his schedule. Sinner announced on Thursday that he was withdrawing from his fourth-round match against de Minaur due to insufficient recovery time after his previous match.
The Italian's three-set win over Mackenzie McDonald stated after midnight and finished in the early hours of Thursday morning at 2.37am, but organisers wanted him to back up the same day to take on de Minaur at 5pm. The in-form Sinner, who had won two of his last three tournaments including the Vienna Open last Sunday, announced he was withdrawing just 90 minutes before he has due to play de Minaur.
"I am sorry to announce that I am withdrawing from today's match in Bercy," he wrote on social media. "I finished the match when it was almost 3 in the morning and didn't go to bed until a few hours later. I had less than 12 hours to rest and prepare for the next game.
"I have to make the right decision for my health and my body. The weeks ahead with the ATP Finals at home and the Davis Cup will be very important, now I focus on preparing for these important events. See you in Turin! Forza!"
Tennis world blows up over 'crazy' situation at Paris Masters
Organisers of one of the sport's biggest Masters 1000 events have been copping it over the farcical situation. Sinner's Australian coach Darren Cahill wrote on social media: "2:45 a.m. Happy for the Jannik win, but zero care for the players' welfare with the Paris schedule."
World No.8 Casper Ruud wrote: "Bravo ATP Tour, way to help one of the best players in the world recover and be as ready as possible when he finished his previous match at 2:37 am this morning, 14.5 hours to recover.. what a joke."
Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka commented: "It's crazy … tournament doesn't care and ATP just follow what the tournament will want."
Aussie commentator Rennae Stubbs added: "Finishing at almost 3am at a Masters 1000!!!! What the hell ATP Tour!!! What is happening! It’s indoors!!!! How is this possible!!????? Man i think it’s time someone took over the ATP AND WTA tours! Anyone out there that thinks they could do this better??? Join tours!??"
It’s crazy 🤦🏻♂️tournament doesn’t care and ATP just follow what the tournament will want 🤷🏻♂️! Always the same story …
— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) November 2, 2023
Scheduling 6 matches on one court is ridiculous
— Rennae Stubbs 🟦👍🏼 (@rennaestubbs) November 2, 2023
complete and utter joke that Jannik Sinner was put in an awful position by the #RolexParisMasters directors🤡, forced to play until 2.30 in the morning, then given a 14-hour turnaround instead of a match in the night session the next day. Considering how important playing at home… pic.twitter.com/Xb1hzZ7DKV
— Matt (@matt_l1ghts) November 2, 2023
Very disrespectful with Sinner and Mcdonald. What a disgrace of a tournament
— cristian zollhofer (@zollhofer) November 1, 2023
Alex de Minaur still a chance to make ATP Finals
It means Aussie star de Minaur has been given saloon passage into the quarter-finals, where he will play Andrey Rublev. The fifth seed defeated Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3 6-3 to advance.
De Minaur will be thanking his lucky stars that he's avoided Sinner, who owns a 5-0 head-to-head record against the Aussie. The World No.13 will also get a rest day after a couple of gruelling contests against Andy Murray and Dusan Lajovic earlier in the tournament.
It also keeps the Sydneysider's faint hopes of reaching the end-of-season ATP Finals tournament alive. With only the top eight players in the world qualifying, de Minaur would have to win the Paris Masters to give himself a shot at making it.
Stefanos Tsitsipas became the sixth man to qualify for the ATP Finals after beating Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 on Thursday. He joins Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Sinner and Rublev.
Zverev could still make it into the final eight, with de Minaur and Hubert Hurkacz also in the hunt for the last two places. Hurkacz beat Francisco Cerundolo 6-4 6-3 and will face Grigor Dimitrov, who cruised past Alexander Bublik 6-2 6-2.
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