At the Next Gen Finals in Milan, will it be the 21-year-old Hyeon Chung with his first title ever or Andrey Rublev with his second after the Umag title?
The final is Hyeon Chung’s to lose.
After beating Rublev 4-0, 4-1, 4-3(1) in their round-robin match on Wednesday, Hyeon Chung leads Andrey Rublev 2-0 in their head-to-head record. Chung scored his first 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over Rublev at the second round of the Winston Salem Open in August 2017. On paper, Chung appears a slight favorite in this encounter. He has won seven of his last ten matches, and his losses have come to Rafael Nadal, David Goffin, and Kevin Anderson ranked 15 or better in the ATP.
What are Andrey Rublev’s prospects in the finals?
Andrey Rublev, on the other hand, has lost six of his last ten matches on hard court, and two of those losses have come against Fernando Verdasco and Filip Krajinovic, both ranked outside of the top 30 in the ATP rankings. He, however, will be facing a tired opponent who is coming of a grueling 4-1, 4-1, 3-4(4), 1-4, 4-0 semifinal encounter against Daniil Medvedev and that may just be enough to win this Next Gen Finals in Milan.
Outcome: Hyeon Chung over Andrey Rublev in five sets.
Is Dennis Shapovalov the real champion in the making?
Irrespective of who wins the finals, we at 138mph believe that the most promising talent of the next generation is Dennis Shapovalov, whose game, because of the single-handed backhand, might take a little more time to mature. The single-handed backhand with a player of immense talent and immaculate timing can become a WMD. Sometimes it may take longer, but it bestows the talented wielder the advantages of surprise, reach, variety, and lack of injuries over his two-handed opponent. And in the long run, at the very highest level, those very advantages usually decides the winner and runner-up in a Slam. We only hope that it doesn’t take Dennis as much time as it took Roger Federer to figure out the efficacy of his WMD.