U21 Race to Milan: What difference a year has made?


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U21 Race to Milan: What difference a year has made?

The U21 Race to Milan has brought nothing new this Monday, with no new players in the Top 10 after a quiet week due to Davis Cup action. Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe and Andrey Rublev had a chance to play under the national colors but they will all play for some big points in the following weeks in order to secure their place in Milan in November.

With nothing new to report in this year's Race to Milan, we will take a look on the same list 12 months ago and how well the players have performed in both seasons. On September 18, Alexander Zverev (he skipped the U21 Masters in 2017 and it is likely he will do the same this year) had been the player to beat after winning Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal and nothing changed at the top, with the German collecting 145 points more than in 2017 after Masters 1000 crown in Madrid and his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros.

Five places in the Top 8 were reserved for the oldest players born in 1996 12 months ago, with Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric, Jared Donaldson, Daniil Medvedev and Hyeon Chung standing strong in the battle for seven direct spots in Milan.

Daniil Medvedev was the seventh player on the list, scoring 717 points which just topped Andrey Rublev who is currently on 695 points in that last place that leads to Milan. On the other hand, the leading five players on this week's list have all won more points than their rivals from a year ago and the difference is quite visible when we compare the players in the second spot.

Andrey Rublev was the only player besides Zverev who had passed the 1000-point mark in the Race last September and Stefanos Tsitsipas has gathered more than 700 points compared to him, as one of five players who has already added 1000 points to his tally.

Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe have pretty much secured their Milan tickets and the Top 5 players from the list have been much more efficient than in 2017, accumulating 9552 points compared to 8096 that Zverev, Rublev, Khachanov, Shapovalov and Coric had a year ago at this time. The best thing is, Zverev is the only player from the oldest 1997 generation and the other four will be in contention in 2019 as well, with a chance to improve their game even more and achieve bigger things in the season ahead of us.

Before that, we will follow the battle for the place in Milan closely and every match at the second U21 Masters that will take place between November 6-10. Top 10 players in the U21 Race to Milan:

 
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