ATP Next Gen Finals: Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Alex de Minaur in final
Rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Alex de Minaur of Australia to win the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan. The top-seeded Tsitsipas was unbeaten throughout the week and another commanding performance saw him beat de Minaur 2-4, 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-3(3) in the final.
Earlier, Russian Andrey Rublev and Spaniard Jaume Munar battled it out for the 3rd place consolation. Rublev, who was defeated by Hyeon Chung in last years final, took the bronze medal beating Munar in 5-sets 1-4, 4-3(4), 2-4, 4-2, 4-3(7).
The final was a close match as de Minaur took the first set. Tsitsipas was quick to respond with a comfortable second set victory and the match looked evenly poised. Tsitsipas seized the initiative in the third set tiebreak and sealed his victory with another tiebreak win in the 4th set. de Minaur was facing 2 match points on his serve in the 4th set but held off his challenger to force a tiebreak which he eventually would lose.
The match saw two of the most exciting talents in tennis battle it out. Neither of the two men had made the NextGen Finals in the inaugural edition last year. Tsitsipas, who is ranked an impressive 15th in the ATP rankings, capped off a breakthrough season with this win in Milan. It was a spectacular week for the Australian de Minaur as he took home the biggest paycheck of his career - a cool $429,000 for his victories in the group stages and for his runner-up finish.
He is now the Number 1 ranked Australian at 31 in the ATP charts ahead of the likes of John Millman (33), Nick Kyrgios (37) and Matthew Ebden (41). Overall it was an excellent last couple of weeks for Tennis Australia with Ashleigh Barty winning the WTA Elite Trophy and de Minaur finishing runner-up in Milan. As a result, Barty and de Minaur are in all likelihood going to be the recipients of this year's John Newcombe medal awarded by Tennis Australia.
Tsitsipas has enjoyed a breakthrough season making the final in Barcelona and most notable making the finals of the Rogers Cup beating 3 top-10 players along the way. Tsitsipas and de Minaur were awarded the 'Most Improved Player of the Year' and 'Newcomer of the Year' awards respectively by the ATP after their finals match.