Jannik Sinner (Photo by: Alessio Tarpini/LPS via ZUMA Wire)
Home favourite, Jannik Sinner looks to back up his impressive victory over Frances Tiafoe when he faces Mikael Ymer in the final match of the day, following Tiafoe vs Ugo Humbert, who meet in the opening match of the night session.
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Frances Tiafoe (2) vs Ugo Humbert (3), 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT
Can second seed Frances Tiafoe get his Next Gen ATP Finals campaign back on track when he faces Frenchman, Ugo Humbert in Milan on Wednesday? Tiafoe and Humbert meet in the first match of the night session, with both men looking to bounce back from opening night defeats. American, Tiafoe was taken out in four sets by home wildcard, Jannik Sinner, while Humbert fell earlier in the day to Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, also in four sets.
Tiafoe slips to 1-3 at the Next Gen Finals, having also lost two of his three matches in his debut appearance last season. The American began well enough against Sinner, edging a tight first set on a tie break, but he could not make any further inroads, as his Italian opponent fought back to claim a very popular 3-4 4-2 4-2 4-2 victory.
Tiafoe reached his first Grand Slam quarter final at the Australian Open in January, and made another marquee quarter final at the Miami Open in March, but he’s sort of stagnated since then, making just three more ATP 250 quarter finals across 18 tournaments. He ended last year inside the top 40, but the 20-year-old is currently ranked 47th in the world.
He’s got another difficult assignment on Wednesday as he squares off against France’s Humbert in his second group match.
Third seed, Humbert is seeking his first ever Next Gen ATP Finals win after losing to Mikael Ymer in his tournament debut on Tuesday. The Frenchman responded well to dropping the opening set on a tie break, taking the second set 4-1, but he played a loose game at 2-3 in the third, hitting a double fault and a series of unforced errors to drop his serve, and lose the set. He quickly slipped to a 0-3 deficit in the fourth set, before eventually losing 4-3 1-4 4-2 4-1 after an hour and 42 minutes.
Humbert earned his spot in the Next Gen Finals following a season during which he reached tour-level semi-finals in Marseille, Newport and Antwerp, and had his best Grand Slam performance with a fourth round run at Wimbledon. He also claimed Challenger titles in Cherbourg, Istanbul and Brest, and broke into the world’s top 50 for the first time.
Currently ranked 55th in the world, Humbert has generally been in better form than Tiafoe in recent months, winning matches, albeit a lot at Challenger level, and that could be a big factor as both players meet for the first time on Wednesday.
Jannik Sinner (8, WC) vs Mikael Ymer (6), to follow
For the second straight night, home favourite Jannik Sinner plays the last match on the schedule as the teenage sensation attempts to make it two wins out of two at the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals.
Sinner goes up against the impressive Swede, Mikael Ymer, who also got his tournament off to a winning start with a four-set victory over Ugo Humbert.
Sinner made a bit of history at the Next Gen ATP Finals on Tuesday, as he became the first Italian to win a match at the tournament. Things didn’t look so promising when he lost the opening set to second seed, Tiafoe, but roared on by the home crowd, the highly-rated 18-year-old fought back to secure the 3-4 4-2 4-2 4-2 victory. The serve was a pivotal part of the Italian’s success, as he powered down 14 aces, and won 84% of points behind his first serve. He saved all four break points he faced.
It’s already been a season to remember for Sinner, who has rocketed from outside the top-500 at the start of the year to become the youngest player inside the world’s top 100. Sinner reached a maiden tour-level semi-final in Antwerp, while he also claimed Challenger titles in Bergamo and Lexington.
On the evidence of his performance against Tiafoe in his Next Gen ATP Finals opener, he is very much in the running for another title in Milan this week.
Swedish young gun, Mikael Ymer will attempt to douse all of that home enthusiasm when he faces the Italian teenager on Wednesday.
Ymer arrived Milan in great form, having recently won back-to-back Challenger titles in Orleans and Mouilleron-Le-Captif to take his tally for the season to four, adding to trophies in Noumea and Tampere earlier in the year.
He has clearly brought some of that form to Milan, recovering from the loss of the second set against Ugo Humbert to register a win in his Next Gen Finals debut. Ymer was pegged back to 3-3 after racing out to a 3-0 lead, but he stayed composed through the tie break, dominating to take a one-set lead. Humbert hit back to level in the second set, but Ymer maintained a higher level through the match, and came away with a 4-3 1-4 4-2 4-1 victory.
“It was a lot of fun,” Ymer said. “I saw how big the arena is and was a little bit nervous before going out there, but I felt good from the start. I managed to stay in the rallies and get the early break, so there were a lot of positive things.”
Propelled by a 39-10 record on the Challenger Tour, Ymer has risen as high as 73rd in the rankings this year, having begun the season outside the top-250. He is currently just one spot shy of that career-high ranking.
The 21-year-old Swede has been playing some very good tennis this year, and he will need to be very good again on Wednesday, as he takes on the talented Sinner and the Italian crowd.