De Jong takes on Sinner after debut Grand Slam win in Melbourne

Jesper de Jong beat Pedro Cachin in four sets. Photo: EPA/Mast Irham via ANP

Tennis player Jesper de Jong crowned his Grand Slam debut in Australia with a win in the first round against Argentina’s Pedro Cachin.

The 23-year-old, ranked 148th in the world going into the tournament, lost the first set but came back to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

His reward is a meeting with the fourth seed and one of the title favourites, Italy’s Jannik Sinner, who knocked out another Dutchman, Botic van de Zandschulp, in round one.

“It’s brilliant, I’m super happy,” De Jong told NOS. “He [Sinner] is one of the hottest players in the world right now, so it’s brilliant to play against him.”

De Jong, from Haarlem, admitted he had started on the back foot, but gained in confidence after surviving a couple of break points early in the second set.

“I was tense, my game wasn’t good, I went to the back of the court too much and let him do his thing.

“I had the feeling after the first set that it couldn’t get any worse, but I kept going, defended two good break points and it was fine after that.”

Dutch number one Tallon Griekspoor will take on Roman Safiullin in the first round on Tuesday, while the only Dutch player in the women’s singles, Arantxa Rus, is playing Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina on Monday.

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