Rising Australian star Alex de Minaur kept it classy after beating fellow rising star and good friend Frances Tiafoe on Friday at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. De Minaur, seeded at No. 1, overcame second-seeded Tiafoe in four sets 4-2 4-1 0-4 4-2 to reach back-to-back finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals.
After failing to earn a single break point in the point in the first two sets, Tiafoe found a way in the third set to do damage on de Minaur's serve as he broke the Australian twice to force a fourth set. Losing the third set didn't affect de Minaur, who served out his first service games of the fourth set before breaking Tiafoe in the sixth game to seal the win.
"It’s difficult, but easier in some ways [to play a friend]. It’s easy because you know that no matter what happens on the court, you’re still going to be the best of friends. In the same manner, you’ve got to remember that you're opponents,” de Minaur said, per the Next Gen ATP Finals website.
“I’ve got to get in the zone, fired up and motivated, but it worked out today. “It’s never easy playing someone like Frances. He has immense firepower and he’s never going to give up. I didn’t have my best third set, but I was able to bounce back and come up clutch in that last game."
De Minaur, who finished runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final in Milan, will be fighting against Italian home favorite Jannik Sinner for this year's title at the event. "I’m just going to prepare for tomorrow like every match,” de Minaur said. “I’m happy to still be here and looking forward to the final."