Alex de Minaur became the second player to guarantee his spot in the last four of the Next Gen ATP Finals on Wednesday, defeating 2017 finalist Andrey Rublev 4-1, 3-4(5), 4-1, 4-2.
“It was great. I knew coming in it was going to be a really tough match and I was going to have to play some really good tennis and not leave too many balls short because his forehand is seriously one of the most dangerous weapons out there on the Tour,” De Minaur said. “I’m really happy with my win. I thought I executed my gameplan really well and served really well.”
De Minaur came out swinging, losing just three service points in the first set. And despite a hiccup in the second-set tie-break, the Aussie was broken just once in the match, while he broke the Russian four times to earn a berth in the semi-finals.
“It’s not over yet. Every match counts,” De Minaur said. “I’m very happy with my win today and it’s been a great year, but tomorrow’s another day and you’ve got to get back out there and keep doing the same.”
De Minaur, who is at a career-best No. 31 in the ATP Rankings, is the second seed here in Milan. And he will look to complete round-robin play undefeated on Thursday evening when he plays fourth seed Taylor Fritz. The pair has not faced off in a FedEx ATP Head2Head match, but De Minaur defeated Fritz earlier this year at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Surbiton.
While Rublev, the 2017 Umag champion, will be disappointed, he is 1-1 in Group B play. The fifth seed beat Fritz in a five-set thriller on Tuesday, and he will try to earn his second win at the Fiera Milano this year when he clashes against home favourite Liam Caruana.