After three days of some very exciting tennis being played at the ATP NextGen Finals in Milan, only four players remain. Who will make their way through to Saturday’s final?
ATP NextGen Finals Semifinal Predictions
Jannik Sinner vs Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-to-head: First meeting
The talk of the tournament this week has been the progress of Italy’s Jannik Sinner. He didn’t manage to go undefeated in his group after surprisingly falling short against Ugo Humbert. He made an unexpected 30 big unforced errors in that match. The question is how the Italian will respond in a match where there will be a lot at stake. The Italian likes to be in control of points, remain solid but aggressive on the backhand side, and has been improving the forehand during his development, but he will have to be careful of the risks he takes against Kecmanovic in the semifinal.
Kecmanovic uses a final forehand well to quickly turn points around and maintain offense from that position. He also moves better than Sinner, so the Italian must be wary of that. I think Sinner will get the win and will command a better performance this time around as he moves to within touching distance of the final. Dealing with short setbacks and responding instantly are signs of a good tennis player, which is something we may see from the Italian when he takes to the court next.
Prediction: Sinner in 5.
Alex De Minaur vs Frances Tiafoe
Head-to-head: De Minaur leads 1-0
Alex De Minaur has been by far the most impressive player this tournament. He has shown why he is the top seed, a former finalist, and now a Top 20 player. De Minaur looks comfortable in his own skin as one of the better players on tour and easily cruised through his draw by going undefeated. Now the Australian has two more steps to make to try and win the title to cap off his best season to date. It won’t be straightforward against Frances Tiafoe, who has put together better form after an inconsistent season with some highs and lows.
The key for the Australian is to maintain the aggression he’s put to good use in the group stage. I think if De Minaur reverts to grinding out points, playing additional rally balls, and stretching Tiafoe to more physical points, he will still win his fair share of points, but he’ll leave the outcome of the match firmly out of his hands. With Tiafoe enjoying time on the ball, looking dangerous on the forehand side when he has a few more seconds to execute his targets, the Australian essentially has to find a way to take it to the American’s forehand and prevent the American from controlling the middle of the court. Another interesting battle will be how the American serves and where he chooses to serve, recognizing just how good of a returner De Minaur is. Tiafoe has served well in big moments this week, but the Australian is one of the best neutralizers of big serves on tour and is gaining reputation in that regard.
Prediction: De Minaur in 3
Main Photo from Getty.