Stefanos Tsitsipas ended 2018 on a high, as he defeated Australia’s Alex de Minaur in four sets to win the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
The tournament, which features the best U21 players in the world, uses a different scoring format. Tsitsipas dropped the first set 2-4, but came from behind to win the next three sets 4-1 4-3 4-3. The event does not award any ranking points, meaning Tsitsipas will remain at his current position of 15 in the world. However, the young Greek will receive $407,000 (US dollars) in prize money. Last year, Tsitsipas did not qualify for the tournament and was an alternate, making this victory even sweeter for him.
Tsitsipas, who was announced yesterday as this year’s “Most Improved Player,” came into Milan as the top seed and won all three of his group matches. He defeated Spain’s Jaume Munar 4-3 4-3 3-4 4-2, the USA’s Frances Tiafoe 4-3 4-3 4-2, and Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 4-1 4-3 4-1 to advance to the semifinals. There, he defeated Russia’s Andrey Rublev 4-3 3-4 4-0 2-4 4-3 to make the final, meaning he won five matches in five days overall.
Tsitsipas’ 2018 season has now officially come to an end. With the 20-year-old Greek jumping up from 91 to 15 in the rankings, it’s safe to say that this was by far his best year. He will now have a short time to rest before he begins training for the 2019 season, which begins in just under seven weeks.
by Andrew Stamas
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