French Open: Jannik Sinner saves match point, survives Herbert round one scare

Sinner next faces fellow Italian Gianluca Mager on his way to a potential fourth-round clash with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, who ended his run last year.

Italian rising star Jannik Sinner saved a match point in his opening match at the French Open before rallying past Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1, 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Italian prospect Jannik Sinner saved a match point as he laboured to a 6-1 4-6 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 victory against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

The 19-year-old Sinner, who reached the quarter-finals on his Roland Garros debut last year, was 5-4 down in the fourth set when Herbert sent a backhand wide to give the world number 19 a lifeline.

Sinner barely got out of first gear in a one-sided opening set before Herbert started to put pressure on his first serve, rushing to the net to unsettle the Italian.

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The plan worked to perfection as Sinner misfired and appeared to lose his cool. But his powerful groundstrokes eventually wore Herbert out, who missed out on an upset a year after forcing German Alexander to a five-setter - which he had lost, too - in Paris.

"When I saw the draw I knew it would be tough, also knowing that the crowd is for him but it's good to have crowds," said Sinner on court Suzanne Lenglen.

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"Being a match point down and winning... it's a crazy sport but I'm happy it went my way."

Sinner next faces fellow Italian Gianluca Mager on his way to a potential fourth-round clash with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, who ended his run last year.

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