A fortnight of tennis mixed grill
The NextGen Tournament heads for the final in Milano as the top eight ranked male players gather in London for the ATP Tour Grand Finale, while the female players from Czech Republic and the United States are in Prague, for the final of the Federation Cup.
The ATP NextGen features the world’s top ranked eight male players aged 21 or less. Although Alexander Zverev of Germany, the world number six tops the age-group, he did not compete because he has qualified for the ATP Finals in London. Therefore the top seed is 20-year old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The 19-year-old Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, ranked 27, withdrew due to exhaustion.
They were followed in ranking, successively by Australia’s 19-yeard old Alex de Minaur (31), 20-year old American Frances Tiafoe (40), 21-year old American Taylor Fritz (47), 21-year old Russian Andrey Rublev (68), 20-year old Spaniard Jaime Minaur (76) and 21-year old Hubert Hurkazc (85), from Poland and the best ATP Challenger qualifier. A wild card was offered to 20-year old Italy’s Liam Caruana, ranked 622 in the world, and yet to turn professional.
In the round-robin, Tsitsipas and Alex de Minaur won all their three matches to reach the knock-out stage of the last four. By the innovative scoring system adopted for the NextGen event, the lanky Tsitsipas, from Nicosia, Greece, defeated Russia’s Andrey Rublev, 4/3 (3); 3/4(5); 4/0; 2/4; 4/3(2). The Aussie defeated Spain’s Jaime Minaur 3/4(5); 4/1; 4/1; 4/2. They will meet in the finals.
Nigerian-American Michael Mmoh, who cracked into the top 100 in the year, was a slot behind Ugo Humbert who was 10th on the list of top-ranking players aged 21 or under.
Last year’s inaugural event was won by South Korea’s Hyeon Chung who proceeded to have a successful campaign in the Australian Open warm-ups, but was halted by foot injury in Melbourne.
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