Tennis

Rune beats Cerundolo to keep Next Gen Finals hopes alive


MILAN — Holger Rune of Denmark kept his hopes of making the semifinals alive as he beat Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 4-1, 4-2, 1-4, 4-1 at the Next Gen Finals on Wednesday.

The eight-man tournament for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour has a round-robin format and both players had lost their opening Group A matches.

Rune stormed into a 3-0 lead in the opening set and — apart from a brief lapse of concentration in the third — never looked back as he imposed his aggressive baseline game, serving out the match to love to win in just 78 minutes.

Rune had lost to favorite Carlos Alcaraz on Tuesday, while Cerundolo was defeated by Brandon Nakashima of the United States.

Alcaraz and Nakashima were playing each other later, ahead of the Group B matches which feature another American in Sebastian Korda as well as home favorite Lorenzo Musetti, Frenchman Hugo Gaston and Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

It is the fourth edition of the tournament in Milan. It was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen Finals, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter set, where the first to four games takes the set, with a tiebreak at 3-3.

This year there are also shorter warm-ups, ensuring matches begin just one minute after the players enter the court, while bathroom breaks are timed to three minutes.



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