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De Minaur vs Rublev Next Gen ATP Finals Milan Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: De Minaur and Rublev battle for control of Group B

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 7 Nov 2018
  • Alex De Minaur vs Andrey Rublev is live from Milan on Wednesday, 7 November from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm GMT
  • De Minaur won their only previous meeting in Washington earlier this year after saving four match points
Alex de Minaur. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Alex De Minaur and Andrey Rublev meet at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan on Wednesday, as the young guns battle for control of Group B.

Second seed, De Minaur and last year's finalist, Rublev secured contrasting wins on Tuesday, with De Minaur expectedly easing past Italian wildcard, Liam Caruana in straight sets, and Rublev needing five sets to get past Taylor Fritz. By virtue of his straight sets victory over Caruana, De Minaur will qualify for the semifinals if he defeats Rublev in three or four sets on Wednesday.

Competing at the Next Gen ATP Finals for the first time, De Minaur took to the tournament and its different rules with ease, although it did help that he was playing against the 622nd-ranked player in the world who only got in as via a special spot reserved for the host country. Caruana had won the Italian 21-and-under wildcard play-off, but he was out of his depth against the 31st ranked De Minaur, who eased to 4-1 4-1 4-2 victory- the only one of four matches on Tuesday to end in straight sets.

It took De Minaur only 56 minutes to complete the win, with the Aussie teen generating good numbers on serve, including winning 56% of his second serve points and saving the two break points he faced, while reducing his opponent to just four of 17 on second serves points.

"It was fun. The whole week I was really looking forward to playing with this new format and it was great,” De Minaur said. “I actually didn’t feel too much of a difference. I enjoyed every second out there. The atmosphere was great and I couldn’t think of a better way to start.”

The Australian is still seeking his first title at tour level (he won the Nottingham Challenger earlier this year), having come so close during the regular season, reaching finals in Sydney and Washington. He also made the semifinals in Brisbane, as part of a blistering start to the year, while he reached the third round at both Wimbledon and the US Open. Overall, De Minaur has now picked up 25 tour-level wins this season, having managed just two before the start of the year.

Wednesday's match against Rublev will definitely be more testing than his Milan opener, as the Aussie looks to secure his semi-final berth.

Last year's finalist, Rublev had a much tougher assignment on the opening day, as he took on world number 47, Taylor Fritz. The Russian trailed by two-sets-to-one, but fought back to record a 4-2 1-4 3-4 4-3 4-2 victory after two hours. 

Andrey Rublev. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rublev had made a strong start, breaking in the sixth game to take the first set, but Fritz issued a swift response in the second set, breaking twice to even the match. Both players exchanged breaks early in the third set, which was eventually decided on a tie break, in Fritz’s favour, but the momentum swung for one final time in Rublev's direction in the final two sets, as the 21-year-old tightened up his game, and did not offer his opponent any break points to work with in sets four and five.

Rublev is the only member of the 2018 field to feature at the inaugural edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017, and he had to call on all that experience to navigate a difficult opening match against Fritz. 

"With these rules, everything can change… everything goes so fast. If you lose a little bit of focus, it can cost you a lot. So I know that [down] two [sets to] one, I was losing, but nothing happened,” Rublev said. “I just needed to stay focused and if I had a chance, I needed to take it".

Things do not get easier for Rublev as he takes on the tournament's second seed, De Minaur on Wednesday. It's the second meeting between the two- a repeat of their epic semifinal in Washington where De Minaur saved four match points from 2-6 down in the second set before winning in three sets, on his fourth match point! It's a sharp rise in the quality of opposition for De Minaur, and he will have to make the quick step up against an opponent who is already battle-hardened following a five-set victory in his opening match.

Rublev carries the greater firepower, especially off the serve and forehand wing, but De Minaur can be a very frustrating opponent, as he defends the court extremely well, and does turn up the aggression when he is not being pinned back.

At the start of the week, I picked Rublev to make the semis, and I'll just lean towards him again here to edge De Minaur and make it two out of two in Milan.

Alex De Minaur vs Andrey Rublev is live from Milan on Wednesday, 7 November from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm GMT

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify. 

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De Minaur vs Rublev Next Gen ATP Finals Milan Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: De Minaur and Rublev battle for control of Group B

Andrey Rublev and Alex De Minaur meet at the Next Gen Finals on Wednesday. Which of these young guns will maintain their prefect start? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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