Young tennis prodigy is ‘not human’, rival says
Alexander Bublik was in awe of teenage opponent Jannik Sinner after the pair's match at the Miami Open, declaring the 19-year-old is "not human".
Sinner continued his scintillating form in the quarter-final clash on Thursday (AEDT), beating Bublik in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.
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It marked the second time the youngster has triumphed over Bublik in as many weeks, after a spirited second-set performance saw the Italian defeat his more experienced opponent at the Dubai Tennis Championships in March.
In the pair's most recent meeting, Bublik felt Sinner's performance was nothing short of superhuman.
"You're not a human, man! You're 15-years-old and you play like this?! Good job," Bublik said to Sinner after the match.
"I asked him if he's a human or not, because for me, it's very surprising that the guy at his age has this mental toughness that many, many other players don't have," he later told reporters.
"I called him a robot (a) couple of times during the match, but I do it in a very sincere way because he's really, really a great player."
Bublik entered Thursday's match with plenty on the line - the 23-year-old Kazakh has made the finals of both the Antalya and Singapore Opens this year, only to lose on both occasions.
However, Bublik insists he is "pretty happy and pretty confident" about his game despite his recent heartbreak on the court.
"I just try and head to the right direction, do the right stuff and enjoy life," he said.
Sinner will face Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals of the Miami Open this Saturday (AEDT).
It'll be a case of déjà vu for Sinner, who got the better of the 32-year-old in Dubai last month.
Another win over Bautista Agut will see Sinner advance to the tournament's final, where he'll have a chance to take out his second piece of silverware for the year.
The Italian defeated countryman Stefano Travaglia to hoist the trophy at the Great Ocean Road Open in February.
Originally published as Teen tennis prodigy is 'not human'