PREVIEW: The Rising Stars Aiming Prove A Point At The Next Gen Finals - UBITENNIS
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PREVIEW: The Rising Stars Aiming Prove A Point At The Next Gen Finals




After years of planning, the ATP’s hugely promoted Next Generation Finals concept has come to fruition in the Italian city of Milan.

The round-robin tournament features the highest ranked players under the age of 21 on the ATP Tour this season. Alexander Zverev is the only qualified player to miss the event as he prepares for next week’s ATP Finals in London. In total seven of the highest ranked players along with an Italian wild card will play in the tournament, which will be held at the Fiera Milano stadium. The aim of the event is to promote the younger generation of the sport to a wider audience. Proving that the future of the sport will be in safe hands when the ‘big four’ retire.

“I think it is going to be really interesting,” participant Karen Khachanov told the ATP.
“It’s something unusual. You need to get used to it and try to enjoy. I think it’s going to be a nice, fun event.”

Unlike tour events, there will be a series of new rules being trialled in Milan. It is part of the ATP’s goal to make the sport appeal to a wider audience as well as broadcasters. Matches will be the best-of-five sets with each set being the first player to get to four games. If the set is level at 3-3, a tiebreaker will be played. There will be sudden death deuce points, no service lets and a visible shot clock for players to monitor how long they take between points. Players will also be allowed to speak with their coaches at the end of each set via headset.

“I don’t think this will be the future and I hope they don’t change the rules because then they change the sport,” 20-year-old Andrey Rublev commented about the changes.
“It’s better to make a new sport if they are going to change the rules.”

The draw

On Sunday night the draw for the tournament took place. Staying away from traditional methods, the organisers opted to conduct the draw in an unorthodox fashion. Prompting a social media backlash. Each player would walk down the runway with a model next to them. Then they found out which group they belonged to when the model revelled a letter hidden somewhere on their body. Prompting a sense of awkardness among both the players and the crowd. Former British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray branded the ceremony as ‘awful.’

The Groups

Similar to the London finals, the eight players will be split into two groups. The top two in each group will then progress to the semi-final stage.

Group A

Embed from Getty Images

Denis Shapovalov heads into the tournament high in confidence following a breakthrough season. At the US Open, he became the youngest man to reach the fourth round since Michael Chang in 1989. He also defeated Rafael Nadal at the Canadian Masters in August. Shapovalov has won three titles in 2017, one at Futures level and two on the Challenger Tour. Overall, he has won 38 out of 58 main draw matches played this season.

At the age of 18, the Canadian already has already set out a big goal. To promote and attract more people to play tennis in his home country.

“My goal is to raise the level of Canadian tennis and just have more kids picking up a racquet instead of a hockey stick. I think I have definitely helped to do that, and hopefully I can keep doing it,” Shapovalov said. “I know a lot of people were tweeting towards me that don’t even follow tennis, and they’re starting to get into the sport because I have been doing well.
“It’s really inspiring for me. It makes me really want to keep working hard so that I can keep motivating these kids to try to pick up a racquet and hopefully become, as a player, like Milos [Raonic] or Vasek [Pospisil] or even me.”

Another player who enjoyed a breakthrough at the US Open was Andrey Rublev. In New York the Russian scored his first top-10 win over Grigor Dimitrov on his way to the quarter-finals. A former French Open junior champion, Rublev clinched his maiden ATP title in Umag, Croatia earlier this year. Defeating Paolo Lorenzi in the final.

A player who once said he has no preference about which surface he plays on, Rublev has praised the ATP for their new approach to the Next Gen finals.

“I think this innovation is a good idea. All the players are really motivated with this tournament,” he said. “You watch the big stars trying to qualify for London and us young players have a similar feeling here. Competing with that feeling inside you is interesting. In some ways, this is a preparation for the future”.

Hyeon Chung, who was named the ATP’s most improved player in 2015, peaked at a high of 44 in September. The South Korean has won one challenger title this year in Maui. At the French Open he achieved his best ever performance at a grand slam by reaching the third round. With a steady win-loss record of 28-17 so far this season, Chung has only lost in the first round once in his seven most recent tournaments.

“It’s the last tournament of the season, so I want to stay strong to the finish. Everyone here is playing well and I’m happy to be a part of this.” Chung told

Completing the group is Gianluigi Quinzi, who won the Italian wildcard competition. Quinzi is yet to break the top 200, reaching a high of 226th in May. The 21-year-old is a former prodigy once tipped to rise to the top after becoming No.1 in juniors at the age of 17. As a teenager, he defeated Chung to win the 2013 Wimbledon boys title.

player Current ranking Ranking best ATP titles 2017 main draw win-loss
Andrey Rublev



1 Challenger


Denis Shapovalov



2 Challenger


Hyeon Chung



8 Challenger


Gianluigi Quinzi





Group B

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Boric Coric will be hoping to end his roller coaster season on a high. The Croatian 20-year-old won his first tour title in Marrakesh, Morocco before stunning Andy Murray at the Madrid Open in May. Since Madrid, Coric has only managed to win seven main draw matches on the tour. Two of which guided him to the third round of the US Open.

“I think I need to improve basically every part of my game.” He told earlier in the year. “Especially forehand and also the backhand is sometimes lacking consistency as well. I think every part of the game I see where I can improve and how I can improve, I just need some time.”

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev has achieved a series of firsts in 2017. At Wimbledon he scored his first win over a top 10 player by defeating Stan Wawrinka in the opening round. Rewarding him his first ever main draw win in a grand slam. At the start of the year he also reached his first tour final in Chennai before losing to Roberto Bautista Agut.

Chasing after his first title of the year, Karen Khachanov is hoping to end the season on a high. Breaking into the top 30 earlier this year, the 21-year-old has only been able to win one match in his past five tournaments. His best performance was at the Halle Open in Germany when he reached the semifinals. Despite his mixed performance, world No.1 Rafael Nadal has predicted a bright future for the Russian.

“He’s really good and will have chances to be up in the rankings,” said Nadal. “Karen is a great player. He works well and has a big potential.”

Finally, flying the flag for America is Jared Donaldson. Starting the year at 105th in the world, he is slowly rising up the ranks by displaying glimmers of his talent. At the Miami Masters he reached the fourth round as a qualifier. He was able to follow up on that by reaching the third round at Wimbledon and the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.

As a teenager Donaldson trained to Argentina in a bid to diversify his game. One player that remembers watching him train is Diego Schwartzman, who has praised his development over recent years.

“He’s playing unbelievable. We’ve played already two times this year,” Schwartzman told “When he was in [Buenos Aires], he was a young guy. He was 15, 16, I didn’t expect him… He’s improved a lot, and he’s playing unbelievable this year.”


player Current ranking Ranking best ATP titles 2017 main draw win-loss
Borna Coric



3 Challenger


Daniil Medvedev



1 Challenger


Karen Khachanov



1 Challenger


Jared Donaldson



1 Challenger


Order of play – day 1

Afternoon session
Karen Khachanov RUS vs Daniil Medvedev RUS
Denis Shapovalov CAN vs Hyeon Chung KOR

Night session
Borna Coric CRO vs Jared Donaldson USA
Andrey Rublev RUS vs Gianluigi Quinzi ITA



Ons Jabeur Admits Rushing Back From Injury After Roland Garros Exit

Ons Jabeur has admitted she rushed back from injury just to play Roland Garros as she exited the tournament in the quarter-finals.



Ons Jabeur (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur admitted to rushing back from injury during the clay court season after exiting Roland Garros.


The Tunisian is out of the second Grand Slam of the season after a three set defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Jabeur had control of the majority of the first two sets but a third set capitulation saw her clay court season end in disappointing fashion.

After the match Jabeur admitted it was disappointing to lose but is proud of her tournament in Paris, “We always want to do better, unless we win the title, you know,” Jabeur said in her post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it is a great tournament. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be in the quarterfinals. Especially this is kind of my first tournament after being injured.

“I think it was good. I was trying to push myself until the end, but I think pretty satisfied with the results. You always want to push for more, but I mean hopefully next time will be better, and no more quarterfinal here at the French Open.”

Despite the result Jabeur can be proud of her efforts as she looks to build on a positive week and a half in Paris ahead of the grass court season.

Jabeur also commented on her physical state after a gruelling tournament in Paris.

The Tunisian said nothing is hurting but admitted she wanted to rush back from her injury in order to be back for Roland Garros, “Yeah, thank God, there is nothing hurting. I didn’t have much time to prepare for especially clay season because it’s more physical than any other surface,” Jabeur admitted.

“I’m feeling okay. I think I rushed my way back on tour, but that’s because I wanted to be ready for the French Open. You know, like all the training and the physical training, maybe I didn’t have enough time to prepare for that, but I did my maximum. I did what I could do in a short time period.

“But, yeah, she probably played longer than me, but she’s a beast, and I wish her all the best. I mean, honestly, what she’s doing for — I feel like my story and her story are a little bit similar. I’m very happy for her and for Brazil, and hopefully she can do much more for her country.

“But, yeah, for me now I’m going to try to rest a little bit and be ready, but I’m good for now.”

Jabeur will look to be physically fit ready for the grass court season where she looks to defend her performance from last year where she reached the final.

The Tunisian outlined her grass court season towards the end of the press conference and admitted she’s hoping to play doubles with Venus Williams having played with Serena Williams last year, “Yeah, for now I think I’m going to have the same schedule. Berlin, Eastbourne,” Jabeur said.

“Maybe Venus wants to play doubles there. I’m not sure. She didn’t ask me yet. Then Wimbledon. Just trying to play as much matches as I can. To be honest with you, I want to enjoy playing on grass because I do enjoy a lot. I have my brother’s wedding before, so I’m going to party for a bit and just be ready.

“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon. I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted. Last year was unfortunate because I was very close. When I put something in my mind, I know I can do it, so it’s definitely here.”

Jabeur will look to achieve her dream when Wimbledon takes place on the 3rd of July.

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Iga Swiatek Downs Gauff To Set Haddad Maia Semi-Final At Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek reaches her third Roland Garros semi-final with a straight sets win over Coco Gauff.



Iga Swiatek (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek is into the semi-finals at Roland Garros for a third time after defeating Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2.


The Pole extended her head-to-head over the American to 7-0 and 14-0 in sets as her title defence will continue into the final four.

It was a valiant effort by the American but ultimately fell short of reaching the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

Next for Swiatek is Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals.

It was a positive start from Gauff as she played aggressive, smart tennis from the beginning to test Swiatek from the baseline.

However the Pole edged to a couple of service holds and would break to love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead as her returning quality showed.

Gauff provided an immediate response in the next game to break back as she tested Swiatek’s rally tolerance and tested the Pole’s defensive rustiness.

The American was holding onto her service games despite producing below 40% of her first serves.

Swiatek continued to find big points in pressure moments as Gauff was producing some big shots on pressure points.

In the end the Pole’s returning presence and quality showed as she broke for the set with Gauff producing a number of errors.

There was a slight moment of hope for the American at the start of the second set as she overcame the poor end to the first set with some effective point construction.

Last year’s finalist set up three break points but made some fairly erratic errors as any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out.

Swiatek remained aggressive, proactive and produced world-class depth to take advantage of Gauff’s error-prone game.

The Pole’s level of play intensified and improved as she sealed too late breaks of serve in impressive fashion as she claimed victory in 90 minutes.

Speaking after the match Swiatek said the match wasn’t easy but was happy to get through, “For sure, it wasn’t easy – the first set, especially, was really tight and Coco was really using the conditions here,” Swiatek was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“I’m pretty happy I was able to work on it and win this match because quarter-finals are sometimes the toughest matches. Even though Coco is young, she is experienced so I’m pretty happy to be in the semi-final.

“We play many tournaments in the year where we have to play day after day but I’m pretty fresh because, as you saw in previous matches. I didn’t really spend too much time on court so I’m actually happy today was a tighter match.

“I will be ready no matter what and not having a day off was something that I knew since the beginning of the tournament so I am ready for this situation.”

Another tough loss for Gauff to take as Swiatek seals her place in the semi-finals in Paris for a third time.

Next for Swiatek will be Beatriz Haddad Maia tomorrow.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia Produces Stunning Comeback Over Jabeur To Reach Roland Garros Semi-Finals

Beatriz Haddad Maia is into her first Grand Slam semi-final after stunning Ons Jabeur.



Beatriz Haddad Maia (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Beatriz Haddad Maia produced a stunning comeback to defeat Ons Jabeur 3-6 7-6(5) 6-1 to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros.


The Brazilian was outplayed for most of the first two sets but ultimately took advantage of an erratic Jabeur.

Too many unforced errors from Jabeur in the third set spoiled an extremely impressive first set and three quarters for the Tunisian.

Haddad Maia now awaits either world number one Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff in the last four.

The match was split into two halves with Jabeur dominating the first half with an impressive first set.

Jabeur was extremely efficient on serve and used her slice to set up effective winners with Haddad Maia having very little answer to the 14th seed.

The Tunisian broke twice in the opening stages but was broken for a second time in the seventh game as Haddad Maia continued to remain consistent on return.

However Jabeur continued to use her forehand to force Haddad Maia out of position as the seventh seed broke in the eighth game and wrapped up the opening set in 44 minutes.

In the second set Jabeur was flawless on serve, holding to love on four occasions as she looked supremely confident in her baseline play.

Tennis is a strange sport though and it’s all about quality not quantity and about when you are producing your best tennis not for how long.

That was the case as Jabeur had two break points to serve out the match but was too passive and produced a flurry of errors.

Haddad Maia held and never looked back as in the second half, was far the better player as she forced a second set tiebreak.

The Brazilian stormed to a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak and a stunning forehand winner down the line sealed the second set.

From there Jabeur was all over the place with her decision-making and committed the simplest of unforced errors.

As a frustrated Tunisian slammed her racket in frustration, Haddad Maia took full advantage hitting winners from both sides with ease as she secured six of the seven games to secure victory.

A stunned Haddad Maia was in shock as she couldn’t believe her luck as she enters a first Grand Slam semi-final.

Next for Haddad Maia will be either be world number one Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff in the last four on Thursday.

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