Photo: Sofia Open /

It’s been a tremendous week for Vasek Pospisil in the Bulgarian capital. Victories over fourth seed Jan-Lennard Struff, sixth seed John Millman and a semi-final triumph over Richard Gasquet will attest to that. But the final of the Sofia Open against Jannik Sinner proved to be one step too far for the battling Canadian, who ran the 19-year-old close in Saturday’s championship match.

This, the pair’s first meeting, was Pospisil’s third-career ATP final and his second in 2020 after he reached the final of Open Sud de France in Montpellier in February. Sinner, meanwhile, was competing in the first ATP final of his career – though, he did win the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

The teenager from San Candido, Italy came out fighting in this match, taking the game to Pospisil right from the get-go. Three break point opportunities on the Canadian’s serve in the very first game – and a break in the third – showed Sinner meant business. In winning the first set 6-4, the Italian was quite evenly matched with Pospisil statistically but had a certain edge to his game.

The second set began much the same. Sinner broke Pospisil at the first time of asking, but the Canadian showed fight to peg his opponent back immediately before taking a lead of his own to make it 4-2. Pospisil showcased some solid tennis to see it out at 6-3 and set up a nail-biting finish.

There was nothing to separate the two players throughout the deciding third set. Neither managed to break the other and the match would go to a tiebreak. There, Sinner jumped out to a 4-2 lead and served confidently to set up match point at 6-3. Despite the enormous pressure, the Italian showed no nerves, crafted another mini-break to settle the match and claim his first ATP crown.