Last Saturday night the final match took place in the first edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals, hosted by the city of Milan, Italy. The event only allows the participation of seven young tennis players, ages 21 or younger, that could qualify through the number of points accumulated during the year in Grand Slam and ATP World Tour victories. So the participants were: Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Denis Shapovalov, Borna Coric, Jared Donaldson, Hyeon Chung and Daniil Medvedev y Gianluigi Quinzi.
After playing in a Round Robin system, in the semifinals Chung faced against Medvedev and Rublev against Coric. At the end of the day, the South Korean beat the Russian in five sets, while Andrey was fiercely determined and in three sets managed to take out the Croatian. The final was played on Saturday between the one born in South Korea and the one born in Russia.
Hyeon Chung reached the final ranked 54th in the world and Andrey Rublev at 37th; moreover, the Russian had reached the quarterfinals at this year’s US Open, so the statistics gave him the edge.
In just under two hours they played four sets, the first went to Rublev (3-4), the rest to the South Korean who came back from one setback and managed to win the remaining three sets (4-3, 4-2, 4- 2), thus winning the first edition of the Next Gen in Milan. As a prize, Chung received 390,000 dollars, however this tournament does not give out points towards the ATP rankings.
Thanks to this win, Hyeon Chung became the first South Korean to lift an ATP World Tour trophy since Lee Hyung-Taik won in 2003 in Sydney
-Insights from the final
After the end of the game both players gave us their views, the South Korean gave props to his mental strength, since nerves and anger can compel you to lose control of the game. You have to remember that the former student of Florida’s Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy hired a mental coach to help him deal with the pressures of the game, a bet that paid off in this final.
“The coach says all the time, first try to stay calm and in control, to have a chance to play better and better,” said Hyeon Chung after taking home the championship.
On the other hand, Andrey Rublev, who started as the favorite lost the game when he lost control; despite winning the first set, his anger got the best of him. Once the emotions got a hold of him, he began to make mistakes that cost him the victory. That is why the Russian recognized his opponent’s temperament and accepted defeat.
“I was playing much better than him, I was dictating the match, and then just because I let my emotion out and everything changed, because Chung, he was always there,” said Rublev.
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