Carlos Alcaraz underlined just why he’s the man to beat at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan with a comprehensive semi-final defeat of Argentina’s Sebastian Baez on Friday.
The Spanish teenager is already ranked 32 in the world and was far too good for Baez, winning for the loss of just five games.
Alcaraz dominated from the start in the second semifinal to win 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 in just 62 minutes.
The only time the 18-year-old Alcaraz appeared to struggle was in the penultimate game of the match when he faced three breakpoints. But he responded with three serves of speeds over 214 kph including two aces.
Earlier, Sebastian Korda had to dig deep to overcome American compatriot Brandon Nakashima to earn his place in the ATP NextGen final in Milan on Friday.
The 21-year-old Korda, the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, was the favorite to win the all-American semifinal but struggled to find his rhythm before prevailing 4-3 (3), 2-4, 1-4, 4-2, 4-2.
He set up three match points in the final game and converted the first with a backhand that only barely crept over the net. Korda held up his hands as if in apology at how he had managed the winning point.
Meanwhile, It will be the first meeting between Alcaraz and Korda. Both players won all three of their matches in the round-robin group stage.
It is the fourth edition of the tournament in Milan for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. It was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.
There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.
The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.