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De Minaur vs Fritz Next Gen ATP Finals live streaming, preview and tips - De Minaur attempts to stay unbeaten heading into semi-finals

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 8 Nov 2018
  • Alex de Minaur vs Taylor Fritz is live from Milan at 7.30pm local time on Thursday (6.30pm BST)
  • De Minaur won their only previous clash at the Surbiton Challenger in June
Alex de Minaur (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Already safely through to the semi-finals, can Alex de Minaur knock out Taylor Fritz in Group B and remain unbeaten at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan on Thursday?

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Teenage sensation Alex de Minaur has sky-rocketed up the rankings in 2018 - can the Australian finish off his stellar season by claiming the Next Gen ATP Finals title this week? With two wins from his first two matches in Milan against Liam Caruana and last year’s runner-up Andrey Rublev, de Minaur has joined top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals, but can he stay unbeaten when he confronts Taylor Fritz on Thursday in the last match of Group B? Fritz is coming off a four-set win against Caruana and needs to beat de Minaur and hope Rublev struggles against the Italian wildcard in order to have a chance to make the semi-finals after he lost to the Russian earlier this week. De Minaur, despite ensured of a final four spot, won’t be taking his foot off the pedal on Thursday.

“It’s not over yet. Every match counts,” De Minaur said. “I’m very happy with my win today and it’s been a great year, but tomorrow’s another day and you’ve got to get back out there and keep doing the same.”

Ranked 1,574 at the start of the 2016 season and outside the top 200 at the beginning of 2017, de Minaur arrived in Milan at a career-high mark of No. 31 after an extraordinary breakout season on the ATP World Tour. De Minaur lit up the Australian summer and really announced himself as someone to look out for in 2018 when he became the first man since Rafael Nadal to reach back-to-back ATP semi-finals as a teenager when he advanced to the final four in Brisbane and finished runner-up at the Apia International in Sydney to Daniil Medvedev. De Minaur has gradually improved as the year has gone on, winning the Nottingham Challenger on grass before making the third round of Wimbledon (losing to Nadal).

De Minaur took his game to another level again at the start of the North American summer, making the biggest final of his career at the ATP 500 Citi Open in Washington, beating Vasek Pospisil, Steve Johnson, Hyeon Chung and Andrey Rublev (saving four match points in their semi-final clash) before going down to defending champion Alexander Zverev in the final. The 19-year-old wasn’t done making an impression on North American hardcourts, going on to reach the third round of the U.S. Open and pushing Marin Cilic to five sets in a thrilling contest, saving seven match points before the Croatian finally put him away.

The Australian advanced to the semi-finals of Shenzhen and Round of 16 in Shanghai, but he lost a bit of steam at the very end of the season proper, losing in the opening rounds of Stockholm and Paris Masters to veterans Philipp Kohlschreiber and Feliciano Lopez respectively. However, de Minaur has found his best tennis again in Milan - is he set to make it three wins from three on Thursday?

Taylor Fritz (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Fritz is another young gun that knows all about making a splash on tour as a teenager. After making the final of the Memphis Open, reaching the quarter-finals in Acapulco and the second round of the Miami Masters, Fritz soared to No. 53 in the world during the first quarter of 2016. It was a monumental and sudden rise for the teenager, who was ranked 694 towards the end of 2015, with Fritz thrown into the same bracket of young players such as Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric and Hyeon Chung that were being talked about as future Grand Slam champions.

Fritz’s progress up the rankings stagnated for the rest of 2016 and for a lot of 2017 as he struggled to make the full-time transition to the ATP World Tour and play his best tennis outside of USA - and he also got married and became a father during this time - but he’s made his way back up the rankings in 2018, arriving in Milan at a career-high ranking of No. 47, reaching his second ATP World Tour semi-final in Houston, making the quarter-finals at Delray Beach and Lyon, along with advancing to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the U.S. Open, where he went down to Dominic Thiem.

The American also reached the Round of 16 at a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time at Indian Wells and pushed Alexander Zverev to five sets in the second round of Wimbledon. Fritz has put together a solid month or so of tennis after the U.S. Open, progressing to his third ATP semi-final in Chengdu, qualifying for the Shanghai Masters and making the second round and reaching the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 Swiss Indoors in Basel to crack the top 50 for the first time.

Fritz and de Minaur have actually played once before, with the Australian winning in straight sets on the grass of the Surbiton Challenger just before Wimbledon. We know de Minaur won’t be backing down or giving anything less than 100 per cent despite already qualifying for the semi-finals, so Fritz is going to have to play his best tennis in order to prevail and give himself a chance of making the final four. The American wasn’t that impressive against No. 622 Caruana on Wednesday, so if he doesn’t improve from that showing, de Minaur will be heading into the semi-finals full of confidence.

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De Minaur vs Fritz Next Gen ATP Finals live streaming, preview and tips - De Minaur attempts to stay unbeaten heading into semi-finals

Already safely through to the semi-finals, can Alex de Minaur knock out Taylor Fritz in Group B and remain unbeaten at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan on Thursday?

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