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The second edition of the Milan ATP Next Gen Finals launched in Rome

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The 2018 edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals was officially launched during a press conference held at the Rome Foro Italico, location of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The Next Gen Finals will be held at the Fiera Milano for the next two years. The venue on the outskirts of the Northern Italian city will host the second edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals from 6th to 10th November.

The ATP announced during today’s press conference that the Milan tournament will continue to experiment with the rules adopted in the inaugural edition held last November. The new rules include a best-of-five format, shorter sets to 4, tie-breaks at 3-3, No-Ad scoring, No-Lets, a 25-second Shot Clock, In-Match player coaching via head-sets and the Electronic Calling through Hawk-Eye. There will be only two minor innovations. The first change will regard the player warm-up, which will be reduced from 5 to 4 minutes. Players will also be instructed to use a towel rack at the back of the court to remove the onus on ball kids to handle towels. Free crowd movement in the stadium and a limit of 1 medical time-out per match will also remain.

Hyeon Chung won the first edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals and went on to reach the Australian Open semifinals. Other players, who took part in the first edition, made a major impact on the ATP Tour during the first months of the 2018 season. Denis Shapovalov reached his second Masters 1000 semifinal in Madrid last week. Borna Coric lost to Roger Federer in a hard-fought semifinal in Indian Wells. Andrey Rublev, who lost the Milan final against Hyeon Chung, reached the final in Doha and the quarter-finals in Montpellier and Rotterdam.

“The Next Gen Finals was a breakthrough event for me. It was an amazing way to finish the year and really helped me with my confidence coming into the 2018 season. It’s a great tournament to promote the younger generation, and my win in Milan will always very special for me”, said Chung during the press conference.

The second edition could feature Shapovalov and Rublev again and other emerging stars like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Alex De Minaur, according to the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan. Tsitsipas recently reached the final in Barcelona losing to Rafael Nadal. Tiafoe won his first ATP title in Delray Beach and reached the final in Estoril. De Minaur reached his first ATP final in Sydney.

The 2017 edition was very successful and 11 of the 14 matches went to the fourth and fifth set. The matches had an average duration of 1 hour and 36 minutes, marginally shorter than the average of 1 hour and 39 minutes on the ATP Tour.

ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said this event has fulfilled the goal to promote a new generation of players and introduce new rules, which could be introduced onto the regular ATP Tour in 2019.

“This tournament has done exactly what it set out to in terms of giving our younger generation a real global platform. If you look at continued progress of some of last year’s qualifiers, such as Zverev, Chung, Coric, Shapovalov, among others, their progress is there for all to see. This year the likes of Tsitsipas and Tiafoe have stepped up in a big way and are clearly ones to watch. These guys are going to be at the top of the game for years to come, and we are delighted that this tournament will continue to shine a light on our future stars. Tennis is steeped in history and tradition, and there is no question that should be safeguarded. However, this new event has allowed us to look at some potential changes, and we received very positive feedback from our stakeholders on the format of last year’s event. We recognize, however, that we need a bigger sample size to help us draw effective conclusions, so this year’s event will give us that continuity to help us assess which of the changes we want to incorporate onto the regular Tour for 2019”, said ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode during the press conference in Rome.

The Next Gen Finals is an event held in partnership with the Italian Tennis Federation FIT and the Italian Olympic Committee.

“Last year’s Next Gen ATP success was a reward for Italian Tennis Federation and the Italian Olympic Committee in setting up such an amazing event”, said Angelo Binaghi, the President of the Italian Tennis Federation.

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Jan Lennard Struff and Taylor Fritz reach the second round in Winston Salem

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Jan-Lennard Struff beat this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato from Italy 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Struff broke serve once in each set and saved both break points he faced in the fourth game of the second set. He won two matches on hard court at the same tournament for the first time this season.

In the first set Struff earned a break point in the fourth game and broke Cecchinato to open up a 4-2 lead. The German player held serve on his second deuce to close out the opening set 6-3 in just under 40 minutes, when he was serving for the set in the ninth game. Cecchinato did not convert two break points at 2-1 in the second set. Both players went on serve in the next games until 4-4 when Struff got the break before holding serve at love in the next game to reach the round of 16.

US Next Gen player Taylor Fritz beat Malek Jaziri 6-1 6-4 in 63 minutes in their second head-to-head match in Winston Salem. Fritz, who reached the quarter finals in Winston Salem one year ago, saved all the six break points and converted three of his nine break points. Fritz saved four break points in the first game and converted the fourth break point in the second game, when Jaziri netted a backhand. Fritz got a double break, when Jaziri sent a backhand slice long. The US player closed out the first set with a volley winner in 25 minutes.

Both players went on serve in the first six games of the second set before Jaziri fended off a break point in the seventh game with a service winner. Fritz saved two break points to draw level to 4-4, before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to serve out for the match. The US Next Gen player closed out the match in the 10th game to set up a second round match against Filip Krajnovic.

Fritz will make an attempt to reach his second semifinal of the season after Houston.

Tommy Paul never faced a break point to beat Laslo Djere 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Jaume Munar battled past Brayden Schnur 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-1) setting up a second round match against last year’s ATP Next Gen runner-up Andrey Rublev.

 

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Danil Medvedev, Jan Lennard Struff and Andreas Seppi start their campaign with a win in Winston Salem

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Danil Medvedev beat Mirza Basic 6-4 6-4 to get off to a winning start in Winston Salem in 1 hour and 16 minutes. The 22-year-old Russian player earned a late break in each set to seal his spot in the second round.

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games. After six holds of serve Medvedev got a crucial break in the 10th game to win the opening set 6-4.

Medvedev broke Mirza in the second and fourth games to race out to a 5-0 lead and fended off two break points in the fifth game. Basic got one break back in the eighth game and saved two match points on her serve in the next game.

In the ninth game Basic got another break in the ninth game to claw his way back to 4-5. He brought up two game points for 5-5 but Medvedev won four consecutive points to earn the decisive break to seal the win. Medvedev recently reached the Round of 16 at the Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto.

Jan Lennard Struff beat Benoit Paire 7-6 6-3 after 1 hour and 11 minutes to score his 14th win of the season. The German player converted all his four break points and won just 41 percent of his second serve points.

Struff fended off two of the four break points he faced. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games before Struff fended off another break point in the ninth game to send the match to the tie-break. The German earned a single mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5.

Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games before Struff won the last four games with a double break in the seventh and ninth games to close out the match setting up a second round match against this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato.

Andreas Seppi saw off Joao Sousa 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes. The Italian veteran saved a break point in the 10th game before sealin the first set with his only break at deuce in the next game. The Italian player needed one break in the third game to close out the second set 6-4.

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares lift their maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares claimed their maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati after coming back from one set down to beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 4-6 6-3 10-6.

The British and Brazilian team opened up a 3-1 lead, but they did not convert four break points. Cabal and Farah turned around the set by winning five of the next six points to take a 6-4 lead.

Murray and Soares fought back in the second set by breaking serve at 2-2, when Soares mishit a forehand lob return and cruised to a 6-3 win to force a match tie-break.

Cabal and Farah raced out to a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, but Murray and Soares bounced back by winning 8 of the next ten points to win the match tie-break. Murray hit a forehand swinging volley to earn three match points. Murray and Soares converted their first opportunity, when Farah hit a forehand long.

Murray and Soares have won eight ATP Tour titles, including two Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and at the US Open in 2016, but they had never celebrated a title at Masters 1000 title. Earlier this year they defended their title in Acapulco and lifted their second title of the year in Washington.

“For me to win my first Masters 1000 is obviously really exciting. It was an awesome week for us. To win the matches that we did against all top teams that are probably going to play in London. We played really good in the important moments, kept it together well” said Jaime Murray.

“It means a lot. That’s what we play tennis for, to win the big ones. We are playing great. We have been playing great since we got to Washington and I am extremely happy with everything. It was a first title for us at a Masters 1000 event, hopefully we could get many more”, said Soares.

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