To honor the skills and achievements of the upcoming young stars, the ATP created the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017, with the top-ranked U21 players competing for the trophy in Milan. Stefanos Tsitsipas was the inaugural champion, using that momentum to reach the Australian Open's semi-final in January 2018.
The second winner, Hyeon Chung, followed the same path, lifting the trophy in Milan in 2018 and advancing into the last four in Melbourne two months later. Jannik Sinner couldn't repeat the feat at the Australian Open this year but his triumph in front of the home fans in Milan last November was nothing but impressive.
Jannik will remain the Next Gen ATP Finals champion until 2021, with the ATP canceling this year's U21 Masters after all the setbacks with the coronavirus in the previous five months. The ATP calendar resumes next week in New York with the first Masters 1000 event of the season, with other tournaments joining the action in September, October and November.
While the best players will compete at the ATP Finals in London, the U21 stars will have to wait for another year to prove their skills in Milan. In the title match last season, Jannik toppled the top seed and the finalist from 2018 Alex de Minaur 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 in swift 64 minutes, leaving the top-20 rival far behind and standing tall in front of the home fans to lift the trophy.
Producing shotmaking that found no match from the other side of the net, a teenager fired 16 winners and unforced errors, keeping the points on his racquet. De Minaur was reduced to only seven winners and ten unforced errors, entirely outplayed by the opponent who grabbed all four wins that week before the title clash.
Jannik destroyed Alex in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, hitting a service winner in 30% of all the points behind the initial shot and standing just behind the Aussie in the more advanced exchanges to seal the deal in no time at all.
The Next Gen ATP Finals will not take place this year.
The Italian made the difference with the second serve and in the pivotal moments, fending off all nine break chances and delivering one break in each set to find himself over the top in straight sets and with the trophy in his hands.
Both players fended off two break chances in the opening games of the clash, and it was Sinner who delivered a break at love in the sixth game for a 4-2 after 22 minutes. The Italian had to play against no less than seven break chances in set number two, repelling them all with bold hitting and securing a break at love in game two that sent him in front.
Serving at 3-1, Sinner blasted two winners to repel two break points, wrapping up the set and looking good to seal the deal in the next one after another injection of momentum. Jannik barely lost a point on serve in the third set while Alex failed to repeat those numbers, getting broken in game three and allowing his opponent to clinch the victory with three winners at 3-2.