Next Gen Stars Push For Milan In Final Week Of Race
The excitement is building in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan as the ATP World Tour’s budding stars make their final efforts in the last week of the Race at the Swiss Indoors Basel and the Erste Banke Open 500 in Vienna, with four qualifying spots remaining.
Basel is the hot spot for those who have not yet qualified for the inaugural Next Gen ATP finals. Five #NextGenATP players looking to add their name to the Milan mix are competing in the event.
The toughest task may go to American Frances Tiafoe, who enters Basel in ninth place in the Race, 110 points behind No. 7 Daniil Medvedev. The Top 7 in the Race qualify, with an eighth spot going to the winner of an Italian 21 and under event. Tiafoe will face top-seeded Roger Federer, who enters his hometown tournament after winning the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Federer beat Tiafoe in five sets at this year's US Open and in straight sets at this year's Miami Open presented by Itau.
A player he can face in the quarter-finals, Denis Shapovalov, is also a contender in the Race. However, the Canadian is much closer to guaranteeing his spot in Milan, sitting next in line to qualify in fourth place with 926 points. If the left-hander beats this year’s Antalya Open champion, Yuichi Sugita, in their opening match, he will qualify.
Jared Donaldson is second in line to qualify, currently in the No. 5 spot with 890 points. The American will face a qualifier in the first round. Just four points behind Donaldson in the Race is No. 6 Borna Coric, who will confront Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen at the 25 year old’s home event. Both players can qualify for Milan by reaching the quarter-finals.
South Korean Hyeon Chung will look to punch his ticket to the inaugural tournament with a strong result in Basel. After dropping from seventh to eighth in the Race last week, he will attempt to overcome a 12-point deficit behind Medvedev. Chung plays ATP World Tour veteran Paolo Lorenzi in the first round.
Medvedev, who climbed into the final automatic qualifying spot with his quarter-final showing at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, is the only player in the Race’s Top 9 not playing a tour-level event this week. Instead, the 21 year old is competing in the Open Brest Arena Credit Agricole, an ATP Challenger Tour event in Brest, France. He plays Italian Matteo Donati in the first round.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who rose to No. 10 in the Race by virtue of his semi-final run in Antwerp, is also playing in Brest. He has been eliminated from the Race, as even by winning the tournament he would remain in 10th.
The three #NextGen ATP stars who have already qualified for Milan are all competing in Vienna. Alexander Zverev, the No. 1 player in the race, is the top seed, and he is facing Viktor Troicki in the first round. No. 2 in the standings is Andrey Rublev, who was drawn against a difficult foe in Nitto ATP Finals qualifier Dominic Thiem, the second seed. Karen Khachanov, who was the most recent player to earn his spot in Milan, is facing eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Race comes to a close on 30 October.