MILAN/STARNBERG, November 11, 2022
US-American Brandon Nakashima and Jiri Lehecka from the Czech Republic will compete in Saturday’s final of the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Nakashima, who went 3-0 in the round-robin stage, fought past Briton Jack Draper 4-3(6), 1-4, 4-2, 4-3(5) in the stage of the last four on Friday. The 21-year-old San Diego native withstood 15 aces and broke his rival one time to secure victory in one hour and 39 minutes.
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“It was very high quality from both of us the whole match,” Nakashima said. “I was fighting for every point and I was happy to close it out at the end. We have both had a great year and both had great wins against top players. I knew it was going to be a tough match, he has a great lefty serve. I knew I had to be quick on my feet. I am happy I played well.”
Lehecka defeated Dominic Stricker from Switzerland 4-1, 4-3(4), 2-4, 4-1. The 20-year-old from Mlada Boleslav won 55 per cent of the total points played to succeed in one hour and 22 minutes.
Nakashima is making his second appearance in Milan, having fallen at the semi-final stage last year. Earlier this week, the World No. 49 downed Matteo Arnaldi, Lehecka and Francesco Passaro to top the Green Group.
“I have a lot of confidence in my game right now,” Nakashima said. “Tomorrow it is going to be a new match. I am going to try and forget about our match a couple of days ago. Jiri has been playing great all week, so I am sure it is going to be a tough one.”