Top seed Alex de Minaur faces Casper Ruud, while Miomir Kecmanovic takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as round robin play in Group A at the Next Gen ATP Finals comes to a close in the day session on Thursday.
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Alex de Minaur (1) vs Casper Ruud (4), 2.00pm local time (1.00pm GMT)
Alex de Minaur looks to make it three wins from three in Group A and secure his spot in the semi-finals when he squares off against Casper Ruud on Thursday.
De Minaur went three from three in the round robin stage last year before finishing runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas, and the Australian is on track to remain undefeated in Group A once again after winning his first two matches against Miomir Kecmanovic and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in four sets. The 20-year-old won a crucial second set against Kecmanovic on Wednesday in a tiebreak before finishing strongly with a bagel to register a 4-1, 4-3(4) 1-4, 4-0 victory, propelling him to the top of Group A.
Alex de Minaur (PA Images)
It’s been a superb season for de Minaur, especially when you consider he missed two months of it with a serious groin injury – and the fact it took him a while to get confidence back in his body and game after returning to action. The Australian has won three ATP 250 titles in 2019 and broke into the top 20 a couple of weeks ago after finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in Basel.
Meanwhile, Ruud bounced back from a straight sets defeat to Kecmanovic in his Next Gen ATP Finals debut to hold off Davidovich Fokina in five sets on Wednesday, prevailing 3-4(2), 4-3(2), 4-2, 3-4(2), 4-1.
“It was a lot of ups and downs and also the first five-set match that I’ve won,” Ruud said. “It can only be a couple of points from winning or losing. [Davidovich Fokina] is a really strong fighter and it was a very good match.”
Ruud has improved his ranking over 50 spots in 2019 and made his first ATP final in Houston earlier in the season, while he also advanced to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time at Roland Garros. The Norwegian needs to beat de Minaur on Thursday to have a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
Miomir Kecmanovic (5) vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (7), not before 3.00pm local time (2.00pm GMT)
Miomir Kecmanovic can potentially book his place in the semi-finals by beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second match of the day session on Thursday.
Kecmanovic began his campaign with a straight sets dispatch of Casper Ruud, but he was outclassed by top seed Alex de Minaur in his second match, losing to the Australian in four sets. The Serbian can assure his qualification into the semi-finals if he defeats Davidovich Fokina on Thursday and de Minaur overcomes Ruud earlier in the day.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (PA Images)
The Serbian has put together a great season on tour, reaching his maiden tour-level final in Antalya and the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Masters, breaking into the top 50 as a result (he comes into Milan at No. 60).
Can Kecmanovic qualify for the semi-finals on his Next Gen ATP Finals debut? He’ll fancy his chances against Davidovich Fokina, who received a late call-up to Milan after Denis Shapovalov withdrew from the tournament due to fatigue.
The Spaniard is 0-2 in Group A after suffering a four-set loss to de Minaur and a five-set defeat to Ruud on Wednesday. Davidovich still has an unlikely shot at making the semi-finals, but he would need a dominant win over Kecmanovic and hope de Minaur registers an easy victory over Ruud in the earlier match.
A former Wimbledon junior champion, Davidovich Fokina peaked at No. 82 this season after making his first ATP semi-final in Estoril, but those were his only tour-level wins for the season. The 20-year-old did end the year strongly on the Challenger Tour however, winning titles in Sevilla and Liuzhou and finishing runner-up in Genova.
Davidovich Fokina is a fighter on court and after taking sets of Ruud and De Minaur, he will be backing himself to pick up his first win of the tournament.
Next Gen ATP Finals Day 3 live streaming, preview and tips – Top seed De Minaur looks to secure semi-final spot
Top seed Alex de Minaur faces Casper Ruud, while Miomir Kecmanovic takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as round robin play…
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