Kecmanović and Sinner impress in Next Gen Finals
Away from the spotlight, the Next Generation ATP Finals are underway in Italy, with the best out of the under-21 players aiming to show that they are the next leading light for the generation.
The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas used this as a springboard last year, and the Greek talent is now inside the top 10 and will compete in the men’s ATP Finals in London starting next Monday.
What happens to the younger players here is of relative importance when trying to figure out who has the right temperament early on to be considered in the sports betting stakes, and who might be tipped to go far in 2020.
Miomir Kecmanović was the first player to taste victory as he downed the Norwegian Casper Ruud 4-3, 4-3, 4-2.
Kecmanović used his service game to great effect, only dropping 12 points from behind the serve, but he was only able to carve out one break of serve, which came in the third set.
He won both tiebreaks 7-5 to secure the first and second sets, though he did have to come from behind in the last set from 5-3 to ensure that he won that one.
Alex de Minaur and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina are the other players in that group, and the top seed De Minaur ended up with a win in just over 90 minutes after defeating his opponent 4-2, 3-4, 4-1, 4-1.
Over in the other group, there was a big surprise in the first round of games.
The Italian wildcard Jannik Sinner was the lucky entrant, but he is not showing any signs that his inclusion is a fluke as he stunned the second seed Frances Tiafoe early on.
Despite losing the first set, the young Italian turned things around to win 3-4, 4-2, 4-2, 4-2.
This is not the first time that he has beaten the big-serving American – he shocked his opponent just a few weeks ago at the European Open in Antwerp.
He got 31 winners and made only 20 unforced errors, and the fact that he did not concede any breaks from four chances but managed to get one in each of the last three sets out of five chances suggests that he could be here to stay on the circuit next year.
He started this year outside of the top 100, but looks set to keep on climbing.
Words: Danielle Nixon