With three semi-final berths to be decided Thursday at the Intesa Sanpaolo NextGen ATP Finals, there’s something for tennis fans of all persuasions.
If you like simplicity, then Group A has you covered. With Carlos Alcaraz already qualified for Friday’s semi-finals, there is only one scenario in play: The winner of Brandon Nakashima and Holger Rune will qualify as No. 2 in Group A behind the Spaniard.
If you prefer more intrigue and options, then look no further than Group B, where all four players are in contention for both semi-final slots on offer in the group. Not even second seed Sebastian Korda is guaranteed a slot, despite him being the only player in the group taking a 2-0 record into Thursday.
So buckle up for a day of drama!
Kicking off Day 3 will be top seed Alcaraz against Argentina’s Juan Manuel Cerundolo. Alcaraz has won all six sets he has contested this week and will look to keep that streak rolling against Cerundolo, who has suffered losses to Nakashima and Rune.
— Next Gen ATP Finals (@nextgenfinals) November 10, 2021
American World No. 63 Nakashima and Denmark’s World No. 109 Rune are next up with the first of the day’s three semi-final spots on the line. The players have never met either on the ATP Tour or ATP Challenger Tour. Nakashima needs to recover from Tuesday’s straight-sets loss to Alcaraz, while Rune will come into the match with the confidence of his four-set win over Cerundolo.
Rune said that he implemented the lessons learned from his opening-day loss to Alcaraz en route to victory on Wednesday. “I learned a lot and took all the good things and experience into the match today,” Rune said. “I played aggressively and came into the net, so I was really pleased.”
The first match of the night session sees another first-time meeting between Argentina’s World No. 111 Baez and France’s World No. 67 Gaston, who last week enjoyed a fairytale run to the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals. Gaston has only one pathway to the semi-finals: He must beat Baez and hope that Korda beats Musetti.
Baez claimed his first Tour-level hard-court match win on Tuesday with a four-set win over Musetti. Gaston rallied from two sets down to force a fifth set against Musetti Wednesday night, but the Italian regrouped to emerge victorious after two hours and 33 minutes, the longest match in tournament history.
How well Musetti can recover physically less than 24 hours after that match will go a long way to determining whether he can ride raucous support from home fans to pull the upset against Korda when the pair meets in the final match of the night session.
“It was tough physically as we ran a lot,” Musetti said of his win over Gaston. “We had some really, really long and great rallies at the end. I was empty… I am really tired right now because I played really late yesterday.”
Semi-final qualification scenarios for the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals are as follows.
Singles Group A qualification scenarios after the completion of the second round of the event’s group stage:
– Carlos Alcaraz has qualified for the semi-finals.
– The winner of Nakashima vs Rune will qualify as the #2 in Group A
Singles Group B qualification scenarios after the completion of the second round of the event’s group stage:
– If Korda defeats Musetti and Gaston defeats Baez, Korda will win the group and Gaston will qualify as the #2
– If Korda defeats Musetti and Baez defeats Gaston, Korda will win the group and Baez will qualify as the #2
– If Musetti defeats Korda and Gaston defeats Baez, Musetti will win the group and Korda will qualify as the #2
– If Musetti defeats Korda in three or four sets and Baez defeats Gaston in three sets, Baez will win the group and Musetti will qualify as the #2
– If Musetti defeats Korda in five sets and Baez defeats Gaston, Korda will win the group and Baez will qualify as the #2
– If Musetti defeats Korda in three sets and Baez defeats Gaston in four or five sets -> Musetti will win the group and Korda will qualify as the #2
– If Musetti defeats Korda in four sets and Baez defeats Gaston in four or five sets -> Korda will win the group and Baez will qualify as the #2