Stefanos Tsitsipas ended the season brilliantly after recovering from a set down to defeat the Australian Alex de Minaur in the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Tsitsipas, ranked 15th in the world, acquired the title after defeating De Minaur in a 1 hour and 41 minutes match (2-4, 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-3(3)). It’s the second title under Tsitsipas name this season, after Stockholm back in October.
Tsitsipas, who was announced this year’s “Most Improved Player”, rose from a season-opening ATP Ranking of No. 91 to end the season as the youngest member of the Top 20. He also finished runner-up in Barcelona and Toronto, falling to Rafael Nadal on both finals
The Greek got the title after five consecutive victories this week and replaced Hyeon Chung as NextGen champion.
“It feels great. I’ve been playing some great tennis this week here in Milan”; Tsitsipas said.
“It was a fantastic match. I stayed calm although I had a chance twice to win the match but remained calm. I was aiming to win that match. I was mentally very strong and that was proven in the tie-break in the last set”.
The Aussie Alex de Minaur climbed from No. 208 in the ATP Rankings to his current standing of No. 31.
De Minaur took the first set, but Tsitsipas answered with his best tennis to win the next three sets.
In the fourth set, Tsitsipas was on the verge of victory with a 3-2, 30/40 lead on De Minaur’s serve. But after the Greek missed an inside-in forehand, De Minaur hit a lunging backhand volley to save his second match point and force a tie-break.
The Australian sent a strong forehand, but this time Tsitsipas didn’t let slip his third match point.
“No regrets”, De Minaur said. “You often are going to play a lot of tie-breaks, and he played well when he needed to. In the big points, he used his serve well and I probably just missed a couple forehands here and there, and that was the difference. But overall, I am very happy with my performance. I mean, all credit to Stefanos. He was a better player today.”
I’m very happy it’s over. It’s been a long season, a season I’ll never forget. I’ve played some incredible tennis throughout the whole year and both mentally and physically, I feel like it’s time to take a break,” De Minaur said. “But [I’m] really proud with myself, and I really owe it all to the team of people I’ve put around me.”