MILAN, November 8, 2018
Group A kicked of Wednesday’s round robin action at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, when No. 6 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland defeated the tournament’s No. 7 Jaume Munar in their first meeting as pros. Both players lost four-set matches in their opening round robin matches. They played twice previously as juniors in 2014 and the Spaniard won both meetings on clay in straight sets. Hurkacz, who is the No. 1 Polish player at World No. 85 in the ATP Rankings, had a 28-12 record on the ATP Challenger Tour with two titles, secured a 4-2, 4-2, 2-4, 3-4(5), 4-1 victory in two hours and three minutes.
In the next match on, a Group B contest No. 4 seed Taylor Fritz edged past Italian wild card entry Liam Caruana 1-4, 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-2 in a first-time meeting. Both players lost their opening matches on Tuesday. The 21-year-old US-American is ranked a career-high No. 47 this week and he is on course to finish in the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his career. The encounter lasted one hour and 24 minutes.
Tsitsipas, De Minaur confirm semi-final spots
In the evening session, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe, both four-set winners in their opening Group A matches on Tuesday, met for the first time in a main draw. The Greek star won their previous pro meeting in October 2017 in the qualifying of Tokyo and repeated his success in Milan. The 20-year-old Tsitsipas, who was an alternate in last year’s tournament, broke the US-American’s serve one time to prevail 4-3(3), 4-3(5), 4-2 in one hour and 10 minutes.
“I never dropped my performance, I always stayed at 100 per cent almost, so [I am] very satisfied that I managed to stay calm and play every point like a match point,” Tsitsipas said. “Hopefully I can play like this in every match that I’ll be playing here at the Next Gen ATP Finals.”
In the final match, Group B opening match winners Alex de Minaur and last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Andrey Rublev, met for the second time. In August, the 19-year-old Aussie saved four match points in his 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 semi-final victory over Rublev in Washington, D.C. De Minaur, who is the youngest player in the field, experienced another tough fight on the court with the Russian, winning 4-1, 3-4(5), 4-1, 4-2. The match lasted one hour and 24 minutes.
“It was great. I knew coming in it was going to be a really tough match and I was going to have to play some really good tennis and not leave too many balls short because his forehand is seriously one of the most dangerous weapons out there on the Tour,” De Minaur said. “I’m really happy with my win. I thought I executed my gameplan really well and served really well.”