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Tiafoe vs Munar Next Gen ATP Finals live streaming, preview and tips - Tiafoe gunning for semi-final spot against winless Munar

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 7 Nov 2018
  • Frances Tiafoe vs Jaume Munar is live from Milan at 2.00pm local time on Thursday (1.00pm BST)
  • First career meeting between the pair
Frances Tiafoe (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Frances Tiafoe will be hoping to secure a spot in the Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finals on Thursday when he takes on Jaume Munar in Group A action.

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Both Frances Tiafoe and Jaume Munar lost their second matches in Group A on Wednesday, but it’s the American who has the best chance to reach the semi-finals in Milan on Thursday.

Tiafoe began his Next Gen ATP Finals campaign with a four-set victory over Hubert Hurkacz on Tuesday, but he couldn’t get over the line against top seed and World No. 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday, going down in straight sets. The winner was guaranteed a place in the semi-finals, with Tsitsipas prevailing 4-3(3) 4-3(5) 4-2 to remain unbeaten in Group A and advance into the final four. Meanwhile, Munar will need a minor miracle if he is to progress to the knockout stages after he went down 4-2 4-2 2-4 3-4(5) 4-1 in a five-set thriller to Hurkacz to remain winless in Group A. Tiafoe and Hurkacz are both equal in second spot in Group A with same games won/lost percentage, but the American holds the upper hand because he beat the Pole on the opening day. Munar is bottom and needs to beat Tiafoe by an emphatic scoreline to have any chance of progressing.

The 20-year-old Tiafoe came into Milan on the back of a 27-24 record for the season, including winning his first ATP World Tour title at Delray Beach as a wildcard, beating Juan Martin del Potro and Denis Shapovalov to become the youngest American title winner since Andy Roddick, while he continued his good form with a fourth round showing at the Miami Masters and a runner-up finish on the clay of Estoril. Tiafoe didn’t do too much for the rest of the clay season, which culminated in a first round French Open loss to Sam Querrey, but he did enjoy a fairly fruitful grass campaign, making the quarter-finals of Queen’s Club and the third round of Wimbledon, where he went down in five sets to fellow young gun Karen Khachanov.

Currently ranked No. 40 in the world, Tiafoe has lost a bit of steam since making the Round of 16 at the Canada Masters, failing to win back-to-back matches through Cincinnati, the U.S. Open, Davis Cup, Tokyo, Shanghai, Antwerp, Vienna and Paris - however, it is normal for a young player playing a first full schedule on the ATP World Tour to experience a bit of fatigue towards the latter stages of the year. The abbreviated nature of the Next Gen ATP Finals means Tiafoe doesn’t have to spend too much time on court - can the exciting American find another gear and book his ticket to the semi-finals on Thursday?

Jaume Munar (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
While Tiafoe was already established inside the top 100 with ample experience on the ATP World Tour coming into this season, the same cannot be said for Munar. Starting the season by qualifying for his first Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open (lost to Monfils in R1), Munar didn’t make much of an impact until April, when he was ranked No. 200 in the world, reaching the semi-finals at the Barletta Challenger, the second round of the ATP 500 meet in Barcelona (beating Joao Sousa before falling to Dominic Thiem) and winning his first Grand Slam match at the French Open, qualifying for the main draw before coming from behind to beat former runner-up and World No. 3 David Ferrer 3-6 3-6 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 7-5.

Munar broke into the top 100 for the first time when he won back-to-back Challenger titles Prostejov and Caltanissetta, while he also made his first ATP World Tour semi-final on the clay of Kitzbuhel. Proving he can play on all surfaces, Munar went on to reach the third round at the Winston-Salem Open and beat Ruben Bemelmans to make the U.S. Open second round, where he bowed out in four sets to Diego Schwartzman. Munar lost his next four matches after departing New York, but he did make the quarter-finals of the Brest Challenger a couple of weeks ago to hit a career-high ranking of No. 76 as he regained some confidence ahead of the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Munar has been a bit unlucky so far in Milan, winning at least a set in both of his matches, but ultimately he’s been unable to execute his best tennis in the crucial moments. Tiafoe was a bit flat against Tsitsipas, and if he turns up in the same manner against Munar, the Spaniard has the game from the back of the court to outlast him. Tiafoe is the more explosive player with better weapons at his disposal, but he needs to deliver a much-improved performance on Thursday in order to secure his place in the semi-finals.

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Tiafoe vs Munar Next Gen ATP Finals live streaming, preview and tips - Tiafoe gunning for semi-final spot against winless Munar

Frances Tiafoe will be hoping to secure a spot in the Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finals on Thursday when he takes on Jaume Munar in Group A action.

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