The last year's NextGen Masters finalist Andrey Rublev couldn't go a step further in 2018, finishing his career at this event (players born in 1998 or later will be able to compete in 2019) after taking the third place following a thrilling 1-4 4-3(4) 2-4 4-2 4-3(3) win over Jaume Munar in an hour and 47 minutes. Munar served at 72% and he blasted 15 aces, winning three points more than Andrey but obviously not the most important ones, losing both tie breaks to wrap up his first and last NextGen Masters at the fourth place.
Andrey created 12 break points and the match could have been over earlier had he converted more than two of those, suffering three breaks of serve from eight opportunities he gave to Jaume and having to seek his chances in the tie breaks in order to survive and secure the win.
The Spaniard had 30 winners and 16 unforced errors while Andrey counted to 45 direct points and 33 errors, hitting 25 winners from his forehand and 10 from backhand and serve to keep the points on his racquet and deserve the win in the end.
Munar had the edge in the shortest points up to four strokes and Rublev managed to reduce the deficit in the mid-range and longer points to overpower the rival and wrap up 2018 with the win. Munar won the opening eight points of the match to grab an early break and he saved a break point in game three to march towards the finish line.
Jaume fired a service winner in the fifth game to win the opener 4-1 in just 11 minutes and he broke Andrey again at the start of the second set, looking better and better on the court. Nonetheless, the Russian pulled the break back in the very next game and he claimed the tie break 7-4 after a lucky net cord winner to level the overall score at 1-1.
Munar saved two break points at the start of the third set and he grabbed a break in game six after a costly double fault from Rublev to take the set 4-2 and move a set away from the win. Andrey was there to fight and he secured a break at the start of the fourth set to keep the lead all the time, closing the set with an ace in game six to send the match into a decider.
There, they both had break points in the opening two games but they both saved three to set up a tie break that Rublev won 7-3 after a service winner to finish the season on a high note. World number 15 and the first favorite at the NextGen Masters in Milan Stefanos Tsitsipas has become the second champion of this event after Hyeon Chung, ousting the 2nd seed Alex de Minaur 2-4 4-1 4-3 4-3 in an hour and 40 minutes to make an amazing season even better. We saw just two breaks in total from players who showed the most this week and reached the final with all four wins, with Tsitsipas playing better in the deciding moments of sets three and four to lift the trophy in what has been a dream season for him.
The Greek created more break chances and he tamed his shots in a more efficient way, hitting 22 winners and 15 unforced errors while de Minaur counted to 23 winners and 24 mistakes, unable to stay in touch with Stefanos in the shortest rallies and those that had between five and eight strokes.
Alex drew first blood with a deep return in game five, moving in front and closing the set with an ace in the following game for a 4-2. Stefanos responded in the second game of the second set when de Minaur sent a routine backhand out and he saved a break point with a service winner in game five for a 4-1 and his name on the scoreboard.
De Minaur saved all three break points he faced in the third set to reach the breaker but Stefanos was more composed there, taking the last five points for a 7-3 after forcing a forehand error from his rival. They both saved break points in the final games of the fourth set (Alex had to play against match points in game six) to set up another tie break that the Greek won 7-3 after a forehand mistake from his opponent to fall down to the ground and celebrate another title just a few weeks after conquering the ATP 250 event in Stockholm. Saturday's results: