Next Gen Finals: Alex de Minaur downs Frances Tiafoe to reach second final

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Next Gen Finals: Alex de Minaur downs Frances Tiafoe to reach second final

For the second year in a row, the 20-year-old Alex de Minaur is through to the final at the Next Gen Finals in Milan, defeating the 2nd seed Frances Tiafoe 4-2, 4-1, 0-4, 4-2 in an hour and 13 minutes. Alex has been the player to beat this week in Italy, scoring four wins and hoping to go a step further than in 2018 when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the title match, setting another one against Miomir Kecmanovic or Jannik Sinner on Saturday.

Outside that third set when he switched off, it was all about de Minaur in sets he won, dropping 11 points on serve in them in total and facing no break points to mount the pressure on Frances. The American managed to end his downfall in that third set when he grabbed two breaks from four chances, although it wasn't enough for a more favorable result after getting broken four times from as many opportunities offered to the Aussie, struggling in the pivotal moments to finish his last Next Gen Finals campaign with the semi-final run.

Alex had 25 winners and 15 unforced errors while Frances also delivered positive 17-11 ratio, taking just four points less than his rival who had the upper hand in the most extended rallies to forge the triumph and stay on the title course.

De Minaur made a very strong start, serving well in all three service games of the opening set and taking three points in a row on the return in the third game to open up a lead after forcing an error from Tiafoe. Serving for the set at 3-2, Alex blasted four winners to bring the opener home in 19 minutes, looking composed on the court and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.

Unable to find his range, Frances got broken in the third game of the second set after another forced error, with Alex cementing the break with an ace and securing the set with another break for a 4-1 and a massive lead after 36 minutes.

With no room for errors, Tiafoe raised his level in the third set, delivering a bagel in by far the best part of the match for him. They stayed neck and neck in the first five games of the fourth set and it was de Minaur who sealed the deal with a break at 3-2 to advance into the title match in style.