The most promising Italian player Jannik Sinner has had an incredible season so far, marching through the rankings to find himself in the top-100 and earning a post at the Next Gen Finals at home in Milan. The youngest player in the draw made a perfect start, defeating the 2nd seed Frances Tiafoe 3-4, 4-2, 4-2, 4-2 in an hour and 26 minutes for the second victory over the American after Antwerp a few weeks ago.
Delivering his incredible shotmaking abilities, Jannik fired 31 winners and 20 unforced errors, fending off all four break chances to mount the pressure on Tiafoe and dominate in sets two, three and four with one break in each from five chances overall.
Frances played well too but that wasn't enough to topple the younger opponent and make a winning start, hoping for a better result against Ugo Humbert or Mikael Ymer. Hitting one good serve after another, they needed a swift 14 minutes to land six service games and set up a tie break where Frances raced into a 6-1 lead with early mini-breaks, closing the set in the 11th point after a forehand error from Sinner for a massive boost.
Leaving the opener behind, Jannik delivered three commanding holds in the second set and grabbed a break in the fifth game to change the course of the clash, fending off a break point in the next game for a 4-2 and a great starting point ahead of set number three.
The Italian blasted a forehand winner in the third game of the third set to earn a break and move in front, fending off two break chances at 3-2 with service winners to move closer to the finish line. The Italian fired another service winner in the second game of the fourth set to keep his serve intact, breaking Tiafoe a few minutes later and sealing the deal in the sixth game to deliver the first victory of the competition on his debut in Milan.
In the other match of Group B, Mikael Ymer toppled Ugo Humbert 4-3, 1-4, 4-2, 4-1 in an hour and 41 minutes, joining Sinner at the top of the standings. Mikael won five points more than his rival, losing serve twice and producing three breaks to hit the winning road in sets three and four after a rock-solid performance.
The Swede won those five points more than the Frenchman in the longer rallies since nothing could have separated them in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes, clinching one break in sets three and four to cross the finish line first and make a winning start.