Brandon Nakashima, Jiri Lehecka to vie for Next Gen ATP Finals title

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Nakashima and Jiri Lehecka will battle for the Next Gen ATP Finals title after each player won his respective semifinal showdown on Friday in Milan, Italy.

The fourth-seeded American Nakashima, who won the Green Group in the prior stage, took down British third seed Jack Draper 4-3 (6), 1-4, 4-2, 4-3 (5). Lehecka, the fifth seed from the Czech Republic, defeated Swiss seventh seed and Red Group champion Dominic Stricker 4-1, 4-3 (4), 2-4, 4-1.

The tournament showcased the world’s top eight 21-and-under players, who were separated into two groups for round-robin play. The winner of each group faced the runner-up from the other group in Friday’s semifinals.

The event’s unique format featured no-ad scoring and sets to four games, with tiebreakers at 3-3.

Nakashima, 21, won 42 of his 50 first-service points (84 percent) against Draper to counter Draper’s 15-10 advantage in aces and 5-for-6 mark in break points saved.

Stricker went 3-0 in the Red Group during the previous stage, but the 21-year-old Lehecka wasn’t fazed in Friday’s match, hitting four aces and winning 36 of 47 first-service points (76.6 percent).

When Nakashima and Lehecka met during the group stage, Nakashima prevailed in straight sets, 4-1, 4-3 (2), 4-2.

–Field Level Media

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