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Alcaraz hits semifinal, Rune keeps hope alive

By Tobi Awodipe
11 November 2021   |   2:47 am
The first winners of the NextGenATP Finals squared off on the second day with Carlos Alcaraz winning easily in straight sets, while Holger Rune put up a brave fight, taking down Juan-Manuel Cerundolo

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates a point against USA’s Brandon Nakashima during their group stage match at the Next Generation ATP Finals on November 10, 2021 at the Allianz Cloud venue in Milan. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The first winners of the NextGenATP Finals squared off on the second day with Carlos Alcaraz winning easily in straight sets, while Holger Rune put up a brave fight, taking down Juan-Manuel Cerundolo in four sets to keep his hopes alive for a semifinal spot.

Brandon Nakashima is out of contention as he fell in straight sets, while Sebastian Baez will only qualify if he beats Sebastian Korda in straight sets, hoping that Musetti will equally beat Gaston also in straight sets.

21-year-old Korda, who is in form, and won a title earlier in the year, is expected to win easily. Korda will qualify if he beats Baez, and Gaston defeats Musetti. 20-year-old Baez, with five ATP Challenger Tour titles on clay in 2021, upset home favourite and World No. 58, Lorenzo Musetti, 4-1, 4-1, 3-4(5), 4-3(5) in 99 minutes. It was the World No. 111’s first tour-level match on hard court.

Carlos Alcaraz is showing why he is top seed at the finals, posting effortless wins to get his Milan campaign underway. He defeated Rune easily, putting up a master class against USA’s Nakashima.

Alcaraz started the year ranked 141 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, but arrived in Milan at a career-high No. 32 after a standout season. In a year of firsts, Alcaraz captured his maiden major title in Umag and upset World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route the quarterfinals at the US Open.

The top seed, who is making his debut in Milan, also reached tour-level semi-finals in Marbella, Winston-Salem and Vienna in 2021.