The 11th seed rallied past the Spaniard 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in a match that was even closer than the scoreline suggested. The 20-year-old has now advanced to at least the third round in his first three appearances at the clay-court major.
Sinner had to dig deep to solve the Carballes Baena riddle, though. The World No. 89, who has earned 55 of his 68 tour-level victories on clay, played consistent tennis to force the Italian to power through him.
After making 19 unforced errors in the first set, Sinner reined in his baseline game and began to use his aggression to his advantage. The five-time ATP Tour titlist had too much firepower for Carballes Baena in neutral rallies and hit 59 winners to just 23 for the Spaniard.
The Italian defeated McDonald in their only previous ATP Head2Head clash in last year’s Citi Open final, triumphing after two hours and 53 minutes in a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 thriller.
Sinner has proven consistent this season. Although the 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion has not won a title yet in 2022, he has won multiple matches at every tournament he has played and is now 26-6. He has not lost a completed match to any player outside the Top 11 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this season.
© THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images