The Next Gen Finals Groups are drawn in Milan - UBITENNIS
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The Next Gen Finals Groups are drawn in Milan

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The Groups of the 2021 Intesa San Paolo Next Gen ATP Finals were set on Saturday in Milan. The under 21 end-of season will be held from 9 to 13 November 2021. 

Carlos Alcaraz will lead Group A alongside Brandon Nakashima, Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune. 

Italian rising star Lorenzo Musetti will carry the hopes of the local crowd in Group B that also features Sebastian Korda, Sebastian Baez and Hugo Gaston. 

Players Group A: 

Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz lifted his first ATP title in Umag during his breakthrough 2021 season becoming the youngest ATP Tour champion since Kei Nishikori at 2008 Delray Beach and the youngest Spanish champion since Rafael Nadal in Sopot 2004. At the US Open the Spanish rising star claimed his first top 10 win against world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round en route to his first Grand Slam quarter final. At the age of 18 he became the youngest quarter finalist at the US Open and a Grand Slam tournament since Michael Chang at 1990 Roland Garros. Alcaraz began playing at the age of 4 thanks to his father. He is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero, who won the French Open title and became world number 1 soon after Alcaraz was born in 2003. He was named ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2020 after moving up from world number 491 to 141 in the ATP Ranking. 

Brandon Nakashima

The US player of Asian origin, who trained in Milan on Saturday, reached back-to-back finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta last summer and won the ATP Challenger title in Brest last week.  

Nakashima became the youngest US player to advance to multiple finals since Andy Roddick went 5-2 in finals as a teenager in 2001-2002. The former world number 3 achieved a career-high of world number 83 in 2021 after reaching the finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He reached the 2020 Delray Beach quarter final as 18-year-old wild card in ATP Tour debut and beat Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi in 2020 US Open first round as wild card and number 1 US player John Isner in 2021 US Open first round as a wild card. 

Juan Manuel Cerundolo

The Argentine player won 8 matches in 9 days and captured his first career title in his ATP Tour debut in Cordoba as a 19-year-old ranked 335. Cerundolo rose to number 181 following Cordoba title and a career-high world number 141 following his first Challenger title in Rome in 2021. He became the first Argentine to win a title in his debut and the youngest Argentine champion since Guillermo Coria at 2001 Vina del Mar. in 2017 he reached number 9 in junior rankings after clinching four ITF Junior Circuit boys singles titles. In August and September Cerundolo won two Challenger titles in Como and Banja Luka. 

His father Alejandro played professionally in 1980s. His older brother Francisco also plays on ATP Tour. The Cerundolo brothers became the first brothers to reach back to back finals on the ATP Tour since 2017, when Alexander Zverev won in Rome and Misha Zverev qualifier for the final in Geneva. His sister Maria Costanza played for Argentine field hockey team that won gold medal at 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. 

Holger Rune

The Danish player achieved a career-high world number 136 after winning the third Challenger Tour title of his career in Verona. He reached the quarter final in Santiago in 2021 as a 17-year-old quarter final to become the youngest ATP Tour quarter finalist since Borna Coric in Umag 2014. He took a set off world number 1 player Novak Djokovic in the tie-break in the first round of the 2021 US Open after qualifying in his first attempt at a Grand Slam. He reached his second ATP quarter final at the Moselle Open in Metz as a qualifier. He beat Lorenzo Sonego in three sets in the second round before losing to Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter finals.  Last June he won his first Challenger title in Biella. 

Holger began playing tennis at the age of six because his sister player. His first idol was Rafael Nadal. He credits his mother and his lifelong coach Lars Christensen as being his biggest inspirations. He served as a practice partner at the 2019 ATP Finals. 

When Rafa moved to world number 2 in the rankings, it has been Roger Federer ever since”. 

Group B: 

Sebastian Korda

The US player of Czech origin won his first ATP Tour title in Parma withot dropping a set in the whole tournament and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and the quarter finals at the Miami Masters 1000 tournament. He joined his father Petr Korda as third father-son duo to win a title in the Open Era. Petr Korda won the 1998 Australian Open, reached the 1992 French Open final and moved up to a career world number 2. His son wo the Australian Open Junior title in 2018. 

Sebastian’s mother Regina Rajchrtova peaked at world number 26 in the WTA Ranking and coached him as a child. His sisters Jessica and Nelly are pro golfers on LPGA Tour. 

Sebastian began playing hockey and dreaming of pursuing a NHL career. He started playing tennis at the age of 9 after attending the US Open. His idols growing up were his father, Radek Stepanek and Rafael Nadal. 

Lorenzo Musetti: 

The Italian player rose from world number 128 to a career-high 57 last June following his run to the French Open fourth round. He will make his debut at the Next Gen finals. 

Musetti claimed his first top 10 when he beat Diego Schwartzman en route to the semifinals at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. The 19-year-old player beat Felix Auger Aliassime and Sebastian Korda en route to reaching his third ATP 250 semifinal in Lyon.

At 2021 Roland Garros Musetti led Novak Djokovic by two sets to love before the world number 1 player came back to win the fourth-round match in five sets. 

In 2020 he advanced to the semifinal at the Sardinia Open and beat Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori to reach the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, becoming the first player born in 2002 to win an ATP Tour match and the youngest player to reach the Rome third round since Fabrice Santoro in 1991. After Rome he beat four top 100 players to win his first Challenger title at the tournament in Forlì as wild card. 

He became world junior number 1 after winning 2019 Australian Open boys’ singles title. He also reached the 2018 US Open boys’ singles final. 

Musetti began playing tennis at the age of 4. His father Francesco is a marble producer. His mother Sabrina is a secretary. He has been coached by Simone Tartarini since the start of his career. Lorenzo considers his father as his second father. He has been inspired by Roger Federer. His favourite surface is clay, his favourite shot is forehand and his favourite  tournament is Wimbledon. 

Sebastian Baez: 

The Argentine player achieved his career-high number 157 on 19 July 2021 after scoring his first win against Corentin Moutet on the ATP Tour in Hamburg. At the age of 20 he has become the youngest Argentine player to win five Challenger titles (Conception, Santiago, Zagreb, Santiago 3 and Buenos Aires) in the same season since an 18-year-old Guillermo Coria in 2000. Sebastian made his ATP Tour debut in Santiago in 2021 losing to Holger Rune. He lost two finals at the Bonfiglio tournament in Milan and the Roland Garros Junior tournament. 

Hugo Gaston: 

The 21-year-old Frenchman achieved a career-high number 103 and reached his first ATP Tour final in Gstaad. Last year he became the first French player in Roland Garros debut since 1971. He beat Stan Wawrinka in five sets before losing in five sets to 2018 and 2019 Roland Garros Open finalist Dominic Thiem. Gaston became the lowest-ranked player to reach a fourth round in a Grand Slam tournament since world number 248 Canas at the 2004 Australian Open and Roland Garros fourth round since world number 283 Di Pasquale in 2002. 

At the 2021 Swiss Open in Gstaad Gaston beat Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Federico Delbonis, Christian Garin and Laslo Djere to reach his first ATP 250 final, where he finished runner-up to Casper Ruud. 

He reached his first Masters 1000 quarter final in Paris Bercy as a qualifier in front of his home fans. He beat Arthur Rinderknech, Pablo Carreno Busta and Carlos Alcaraz to become the lowest-ranked Paris quarter finalist since Michael Llodra in 2012. 

Gaston is known for his unique playing style and his dropshots. He began playing as a 2-year-old at Fonsorbes Tennis Club, where his father was President. His father Thierry, his mother mother Fabienne and his older brother Anthony all work all work for plane manufacturer Airbus. His favourite surface is clay and his idol growing up was Rafael Nadal. He carried French flag at 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, where he beat Facundo Diaz Acosta in front of 5000 fans to win gold medal.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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Hubert Hurkacz beats Alexander Zverev to reach the second final of his career in Halle

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Hubert Hurkacz moved past this year’s Roland Garros finalist Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in 1 hour and 33 minutes to reach the second final of his career at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Hurkacz will be aiming to win the second title of his career at this tournament two years after his triumph. 

Hurkacz fired 17 aces and saved all four break points he faced in the first game of the opening set to clinch his fifth top 10 win on grass. The Pole won 81% of his first serve points. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Hurkacz earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. Hurkacz his only break in the third game of the second set to win the second set 6-4. 

“I really love grass. The game suits my game and the atmosphere here, having the full crowd is incredible. It brings so much joy to the players”, said Hurkacz. 

Hurkacz improved to 1-3 in his head-to-head matches against Zverev. The Polish player will aim to clinch the ninth ATP Tour title of his career in his 11th ATP Tour final. 

Hurkacz won the Halle tournament in 2022 and reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2021. 

Zverev holds a record of 37 wins to 11 defeats this season. 

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