7 weeks to go, who is on course for a place in Milan?

The season will end with a trip to Milan for the Next Gen Finals for the top eight players ranked 21 of younger, as of yet there is only one qualifier however I don’t him to be there. So who will be in Milan in early November?

Stefanos Tsitsipas does occupy the first spot but he looks set for a place in London so last years champion will not be there.

Felix Auger-Aliassime – 19 years old

Quite the break out year for the Canadian who is the highest on the qualification list at the moment in second place.

His season has petered out since Queens Club where he was super impressive and looks like being the only teenager in Milan!

He has been runner-up on three occasions this year in Lyon, Stuttgart and Rio and was a semi-finalist at Miami. Felix however did turn down the chance to play Laver Cup later this month.

Alex De Minaur – 20 years old

The Australian has had a good but undervalued year. Two titles and had some time off injured but he has impressed.

It seems so long ago now I saw him against Rafa in Melbourne, he went out in straight sets but his game is so exciting to watch.

His serve has really stepped up and his statistics in Atlanta where he won a title this year were fantastic and he was runner-up here last year and I think could be one to keep an eye on!

Denis Shapovalov – 20 years old

Denis had a good run in New York and was unlucky against Monfils. His performance against fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime was exceptional and as I described, the performance was one I’d been waiting for.

Skipped here last year citing exhaustion so I’m interested to see what he does do. He has Laver Cup and Davis Cup on his schedule as well so is set for a big few months on the tour.

Frances Tiafoe – 21 years old

Frances by a couple of months will likely be the oldest here.

Point to prove? We have seen big wins in Melbourne and against Monfils recently but I do feel like his game still has some questions on where it’s going.

I remember seeing him last year against Tsitsipas and I described it as flashy without substance and I want to see more.

Casper Ruud – 20 years old

Absolutely lovely guy!

He’s had some good results but needs a run now. The Norwegian is a humble guy who has a strong baseline game. As time goes by he will need more craft in his game I believe if he to climb higher up.

He spends a lot of his time at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca and caught my eye in Madrid when he beat 6-1 6-1 in qualifying. He recently made the semi-finals in Kitzbuhel but impressed the most at Roland Garros.

He won in straight sets against Gulbis and US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini and despite being 6-3 6-1 down against Federer gave the Swiss something to think about in a tie-breaker going to 10-8.

Miomir Kecmanovic – 20 years old

The Serbian has gone under the radar but isn’t afraid of an upset.

Jack Sock, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Alexei Popyrin, Alex Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Feliciano Lopez have been on the end of defeats by the Serb.

Miomir has been playing doubles with Casper Ruud and the duo made it to the third round of the US Open with a win over the third seeds Venus and Klassen.

Ugo Humbert – 21 years old

Bit of a late bloomer is Ugo but he’s had some solid results.

Another player who has had his best run at a major. The left handed Frenchman saw off fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils as well as Marcel Granollers and Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon before he fell in straight sets to Djokovic.

He would be my one to watch in Milan and I wouldn’t be surprised at a deep run.

Corentin Moutet – 20 years old

Another Frenchman.

Moutet had his best career win from two sets down against Dimitrov at Wimbledon and since then is on a six match loosing streak.

Moutet as the top seed did come through qualifying at SW19 but hasn’t had a win for some time and it could cost him his place.

These are the top eight players at the moment…

Who else?

Mikael Ymer from Sweden is just 18 points off Moutet who occupies eighth place right now. One of my favourite breakthrough players Alexei Popyrin from Australia is 31 points off a place.

18 year old Jannick Sinner from Italy who is the only ranked 18 year old in the top 150 on the tour is 123 points off a place.

Just below him is a player I love to watch, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from Spain. The 20 year old has had some great results with his creativity on the court. I do think however it may be too much for him to get to Milan but you never know!

Screenshot 2019-09-11 at 22.33.17

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