Next Gen ATP Finals 2018: Preview and Predictions
The next-gen ATP Finals 2018 is going to kick start on 6 November at Milano. This is a showcase event consisting of eight young players who are expected to be the future superstars of men’s tennis.
The event will be played from 6 – 10 November and like the ATP World Tour Finals, the eight players will be divided into two groups. Every player in each group will play with all the other three players. The top two players will then go to the semi-finals, and the winners there will clash in the final. Now that the groups have already been formed, let’s analyze what is there in store for us over the next five days.
The four players in this group are Stefanos Tsitsipas, Frances Tiafoe, Hubert Hurkacz and Jaume Munar. Tsitsipas is the top seed in this group at world number 15. He has had a breakthrough season in which he won his first ATP tour level tournament but more importantly made the whole world notice him through his giant-killing spree in which he defeated four top-10 players including Novak Djokovic in Toronto Masters before losing to Nadal in the final.
But if he is to top the group, he will have to get it past the other three. He may not face much of a challenge from either the world no. 76 Jaume Munar or world number 85 Hubert Hurkacz. But he is expected to face a stiff challenge from the American Frances Tiafoe.
Like Tsitsipas, Tiafoe too has had a great year, in which he has won his maiden ATP title at Delray Beach Open. He is a player who thrives under pressure and has been involved in some great matches with top players this year. He certainly has the game and the temperament to upset the Greek.
Munar is held in very esteem by his countryman – Rafael Nadal. Nadal has mentored Munar and expects him to be the next great tennis player from Spain. Even though he has had a great season, he will surely be an underdog against the both Tsitsipas and Tiafoe. The match between him and Hurkacz could well decide the 3rd and 4th positions in the group.
The four players in this group are Alex de Minaur, Taylor Fritz, Andrey Rublev and the Italian wild card Liam Caruana. Unlike group A, there will possibly be a much tighter competition to finish among the top two in this group. Caruana ranked at 622 is an outsider and can be at best expected to put up some sort of fight against the three much higher ranked players in this group.
Alex de Minaur, the Aussie with schoolboyish looks is the top seed in this group at world number 31, followed by American Taylor Fritz at 47 and the Russian Andrey Rublev at 68. Though the Russian is the lowest ranked among the three, he was the most promising player at the beginning of the season. But some inconsistent showing has seen him slip a bit in rankings this year. He may have lost his only matches to both de Minaur and Fritz, but he has the experience of playing at Milan last year and is expected to put up a good show this time too.
Stefanos Tsitsipas defeats Andrey Rublev
Alex de Minaur defeats Frances Tiafoe
Final: Stefanos Tsitsipas defeats Alex de Minaur