Alexander Zverev, Washington 2018

Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur and Andrey Rublev. They’re part of the NextGen, they made big waves on the ATP tour recently and they all reached the semifinals of the Citi Open in Washington. It is the first time since 1995 in Buenos Aires (Carlos Moya, Felix Mantilla, Alex Corretja, Jiri Novak) that 4 under 21 players reach the semifinals of an ATP tournament.

“I’m the old guy this week,” Zverev said. “Being the oldest semi-finalist this week shows that our Next Gen players are playing absolutely amazing tennis and they’re all on the come up and we could all do well in big tournaments. It’s great to see and hopefully this will not be the last time, but in the future this will happen more often.”

In the first semifinal, top seed Zverev dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 6-4. It was the first meeting between the two players (Tsitsipas took his revenge a week later in Toronto). With that victory Zverev was the first to 40 wins this season (for 11 defeats).
In the quarterfinals, Zverev had beaten Nishikori 3-6 6-1 6-4 in a match that was delayed by rain at 3-2 in the third for more than two hours. Tsitsipas, who had saved two match points in his second round win over Jared Donaldson had cruised to a 6-3 6-4 victory over David Goffin to advance to the semifinals.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (2)

In the second semifinal, Alex de Minaur overcame Andrey Rublev 5-7 7-6 6-4 after saving 4 match points in the second set tiebreak. Hewitt’s protege advanced to his second final of the year (he lost to Daniil Medvedev in Sydney in January).
Rublev was playing his second match of the day, having beaten Denis Kudla a few hours earlier due to rain delays, while the Australian benefited from Murray’s withdrawal to advance to the semifinals.

Alex de Minaur - Prayer

Alex de Minaur vs Andrey Rublev handshake and hug

Andrey Rublev

De Minaur was no match for Zverev, as the defending champion retained his title with a 6-2 6-4 victory over the Australian. The German lifts his third trophy of 2018 after Munich and Madrid.

“It feels great. It shows mental strength as well, and shows a little bit of maturity. I had a great tournament. I played a lot of great players. Losing only one set, it was a fantastic week for me.”

A few words about 4 other NextGen stars who took part to the tournament.
Denis Shapovalov lost to Nishikori in straight sets in the third round after a hard-fought victory over Daniil Medvedev.

Denis Shapovalov

Daniil Medvedev and Denis Shapovalov

Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung lost to de Minaur in the third round after wins over Benoît Paire and Marcos Baghdatis.

Hyeon Chung

Frances Tiafoe was ousted by David Goffin 6-0 6-3 in the third round.

Kudla and Tiafoe

Photo credit: JC

LACOSTE Player Hyeon Chung

Lacoste announced the signing of a 5-year sponsorship deal with young Korean Hyeon Chung, ranked 71.
Named ATP’s most improved player last year, Chung is part of a group of rising stars including Alex Zverev, Borna Coric and Thanasi Kokkinakis but he is lesser known as he has mainly played on the Challenger tour so far.

A good deal for Lacoste who lost David Goffin (to asics) and John Isner (to Fila) earlier this year. Other Lacoste ambassadors include Dominika Cibulkova, Benoit Paire, Gustavo Kuerten, and Mats Wilander.

LACOSTE Player Hyeon Chung

Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2016 day 1

Novak Djokovic starts his title’s defence with a routine 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over Hyeon Chung.
The young Korean, 2015 ATP most improved player, is part of a group of rising stars including Alex Zverev, Kyle Edmund, Borna Coric and Thanasi Kokkinakis but he is lesser known as he plays mainly on the Challenger circuit.

Djokovic will next face young Frenchman Quentin Halys. Check out my pics of Halys at the Open du Nord last year.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
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Feliciano Lopez, 2016 Kooyong Classic

The Kooyong exhibition is traditionally played the week prior to the Australian Open. Past winners include Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Lleyton Hewitt… This year, the draw is a mix of veteran players (Lopez, Almagro, Baghdatis…) and young guns to watch (Edmund, Zverev, Chung…). Thanks to Brian, enjoy a few pictures of today’s matches:

Feliciano Lopez

Gilles Simon

Gilles Simon

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