In the first match of the 2019 edition of the Next Gen Masters in Milan, Miomir Kecmanovic took down Casper Ruud 4-3, 4-3, 4-2 in an hour and 15 minutes for the first victory at this event. It was a high-quality clash between two great friends and doubles partners, with Miomir delivering fury from his initial shot to lose just 12 points in his games, never facing a break point and prevailing in the crucial moments to seal the deal in straight sets and top Group A standings after Day 1.
Ruud fired 12 aces and had to play against only one break chance, suffering that break in the third set to propel Kecmanovic towards the finish line. Miomir had 20 winners and ten unforced errors (a 24-19 ratio for Casper), having a small edge in both the shortest and more extended rallies to seal the deal and cross the finish line in no time at all.
They reached the first set tie break in no time at all and it was Miomir who claimed it 7-5 after forcing an error from Casper for a massive momentum. The returners barely won a point in six games of the second set, entering another tie break where Ruud had a 5-3 advantage.
Out of sudden, Kecmanovic claimed four straight points to secure the breaker 7-5 after a service winner that pushed him a set away from victory. The Serb continued to serve well in the third set and broke Casper at 15 in game five for a crucial lead, sealing the deal with four winners in the next game and an incredible volley that rounded-up his brilliant performance.
The top seed Alex de Minaur needed an hour and 31 minutes to dismiss Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-2, 3-4, 4-1, 4-1 in the second match of the day, losing serve once and delivering five breaks from six chances to control the pace in sets he won and join Miomir at the top of the table.
The Aussie had 13 winners and 14 unforced errors while the Spaniard counted to 18 winners and more than 30 unforced mistakes, unable to find space to place his groundstrokes and losing ground in sets three and four to push Alex towards the win.
De Minaur grabbed the first break in the third game, fending off two break chances in the next game to cement the lead and closing the opener with a hold at love in game six for a 4-2. Both players served well in set number two to reach a tie break that Alejandro won 7-5 to improve his chances ahead of the remaining sets.
They traded breaks early in the third set and it was Alex who won three straight points on the return in game four for another break that sent him 3-1 up, clinching the set with four service winners in the next game and gathering momentum ahead of set number four.
There, he broke Davidovich Fokina at 15 in the third game after a backhand error from the Spaniard and moved over the top with another break in game five after forcing an error from the opponent.