Berrettini advanced in straight sets, defeating Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo 6-4, 7-5. Sinner showed no signs of fatigue following his title in Sofia last week, as he eased past John Millman 6-2, 6-2.
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Berrettini, 25, had not won a match at Indian Wells before taking the court, losing in his two previous appearances. He is a two-time champion this year, winning the Serbia Open and the cinch Championships.
“It’s been a little bit of time to get the first win, but I’m so happy,” said Berrettini. “I love the conditions here, the place, it’s amazing. It’s called Tennis Paradise and it feels like that.
“I didn’t know Alejandro that well. I knew that he was a tricky player. He played three matches here so he was feeling confident. He believed that he could win and I felt it, so it was even tougher to beat him.”
Berrettini sits in sixth place in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin, while Sinner is 10th.
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Sinner dictated proceedings against Millman in his first-career match at the BNP Paribas Open, breaking the Australian’s serve four times and not facing a break point. The 20-year-old Italian’s serve was dominant, as he won 86 per cent (18/21) of first-serve points and 74 per cent (14/19) of second-serve points.
“Today, I played very well. I didn’t miss many shots and I felt great on court,” Sinner said in his on-court interview. “I had one week of practise here so it was quite long to prepare, which is very good.”