After the second day of competition at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, things are still undecided in Group A, with all four players having a chance to reach the semis. In the first match of the day, Casper Rudd prevailed against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 3-4, 4-3, 4-2, 3-4, 4-1 in two hours and 16 minutes, winning nine points more than the Spaniard and sealing the deal with a better performance in the decider.
Despite a nasty knee injury in the second game of the third set, Davidovich Fokina gave his best to continue the match, finishing with 44 winners and 40 unforced errors as the more aggressive player on the court, fighting until the very last point but having nothing left in the tank in the decider.
Ruud fended off five out of seven break chances, stealing the opponents serve five times from ten opportunities to cross the finish line first and stay in contention for the semi-final spot. They traded breaks at the beginning of the clash and it was the Spaniard who claimed a tie break 7-2 after a forehand error from the Norwegian who responded in the same manner in set number two, taking the breaker 7-2 to level the overall score.
Casper fended off three break chances in the first game of the third set and Alejandro hurt his right knee in the next game, barely moving in the next couple of games and suffering a break in game six after a return winner from Casper who was now a set away from the triumph.
Ready to leave everything on the court, Davidovich Fokina claimed the fourth set in the tie break to reach a decider where Ruud stood strong, earning breaks in games one and five for the first victory of the tournament. The top seed and the last year's finalist Alex de Minaur toppled Miomir Kecmanovic 4-1, 4-3, 1-4, 4-0 to earn the second win in as many days and top the standings.
The match lasted only for an hour and 24 minutes and it was the Aussie who played on a higher level, getting broken twice and creating no less than 17 break chances against the opponent who never faced a break point versus Ruud yesterday!
Miomir gave serve away five times, unable to match de Minaur's pace after hitting 14 winners and 27 unforced errors. Alex had 23 winners and only 11 mistakes, dominating in both the shortest rallies and more extended exchanges to seal the deal in no time at all.
De Minaur hit the zone on the return from the very first shot, creating eight break chances in the opening set and converting two for a 4-1. Kecmanovic got broken in the very first game and again at 1-3 when his backhand landed long, standing miles behind Alex's numbers.
Out of sudden, the Serb fended off three break chances in the second game of the second set, earning a break in the next game when de Minaur netted a forehand to open a 3-1 advantage. Returning at 2-3, the Aussie landed a forehand winner to pull the break back, setting up a tie break that he claimed 7-4 to open two sets to love lead.
Kecmanovic finally found the rhythm in the third set, breaking in game four to take it 4-1 but fading from the court after that, earning only five points in the fourth set and allowing de Minaur to seal the deal with a bagel.