Draper, Nakashima advance; Musetti out of Next Gen Finals
MILAN - Tournament favorite Lorenzo Musetti was eliminated from the Next Gen ATP Finals as he lost his final group match in straight sets to Jack Draper.
The third-seeded Draper took less than an hour to prevail 4-1, 4-0, 4-3 (3) despite playing in front of a partisan home crowd supporting Musetti. Draper secured the win with his 12th ace of the match on the first of three match points to book his place in the semifinals.
The British player will next face Brandon Nakashima of the United States, who defeated Franceso Passaro 4-3 (4), 4-2, 4-1 to top the Green Group with a 3-0 record.
Musetti was the highest-seeded player for the year-ending tournament for 21-and-under players after Paris Masters champion Holger Rune withdrew to be an alternate for the ATP Finals.
At No. 23, Musetti was also the only player in the eight-man field ranked in the top 40.
With a win and a loss apiece in the Red Group - and Dominic Stricker having already secured the group victory - it was a winner-takes-all match for Musetti and Draper.
Stricker will face Jiri Lehecka in the other semifinal after the Czech player dispatched Matteo Arnaldi 4-3 (5), 4-1, 4-3 (4).
Stricker, who is from Switzerland, maintained his perfect record by dispatching the already-eliminated Tseng Chun-hsin 4-2, 4-1, 4-2.
This is the fifth edition of the event, which features shorter sets of first to four games and other experimental format changes. New rules for this edition include no changeovers after the first game of each set and only one sit-down per set after three games; a 15-second serve clock after aces, double-faults and unreturned serves; and coaching during an opponent’s medical time out or toilet break.