Hyeon Chung won the first ever Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. This was also Chung’s first ever main tour title and in doing so became the first Korean since Hyung-taik Lee to gain success on the main tour back in 2003! During the week he upped his game when asked to do so and was unbeaten throughout, as he navigated his way past Shapovalov, Rublev and Quinzi in the groups and then Medvedev and Rublev once again in the final! As I stated in a previous blog about the event (ATP NEXT GEN FINALS), there were several rule changes, most notably sets being first to four games with a tie-break at three-all. Hawk-Eye Live also did all the line calling and for the record, as the blog says I tipped up Chung (get the trumpets out)! Medvedev clawed it back from two sets down in the semi but was outplayed in the decider and Rublev faired a lot better than his round-robin effort but lost the final in four! The Russian had impressed after beating Borna Coric in the semis. If Chung can stay injury free I’m sure we will at least see him in the top 10 and that could easily be the case for a few of the lads with Zverev already there! Rublev, Coric and Shapovalov have really impressed me this season as well as the Korean with their big game mentalities!
The USA lifted the Fed Cup spearheaded by Coco Vandeweghe, beating the Belarussians on the indoors in Minsk on the weekend. Vandeweghe beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka in the singles, before teaming up in the doubles with Shelby Rogers to clinch the tie in the deciding rubber. Sloane Stephens had lost both the reverse singles in tight three setters. It has capped a wonderful season off for the American’s after Serena’s victory in Melbourne and Sloane’s success in New York. Then there is the re-emergence of Venus, making the finals down under, at Wimbledon and in Singapore, with Keys being runner-up in New York too. Coco also made the semi’s in Australia and New York, so it has been a very successful season all round!
Belinda Bencic and Monica Niculescu won the 125K events in Hua Hin and Limoges respectively. Bencic has been slowly playing her way back to form, having been out with a wrist injury between April and September. Her task was made easier as the top-seeded Qiang Wang (and her likely second-round opponent) lost her opener to Ksenia Lykina, Bencic beat Su-Wei Hsieh 6/3 6/4 in the final. Niculescu usually saves her best for the Luxembourg event that’s just been, but after losing to Pauline Parmentier in the first round there this year, she gained her revenge in France in the semi’s and then beat Antonia Lottner in the final. Top seed Alize Cornet lost second round to Anna Blinkova (another of Niculescu’s casualties).
The O2 Finals are warming up nicely so far with early wins for Federer, Zverev and Dimitrov. Rafa has just lost to David Goffin and withdrawn from the event, but I will cover all this more extensively in next weeks review! I will be doing my best to get down there for several matches this week!
Andy Del Potro