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Day 3 Preview: Fils, Stricker Seek SFs In Jeddah

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Day 3 Preview: Fils, Stricker Seek SFs In Jeddah

Medjedovic, Shelbayh meet for first time in evening session

The group-stage drama peaks on Thursday at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, when the four semi-final places will be decided.

It’s all to play for in the Green Group, where Arthur Fils will bid to complete a perfect 3-0 group campaign by beating Dominic Stricker. Italians Flavio Cobolli and Luca Nardi will also square off in the same group, with Nardi in search of his first win of the week.

Fils followed a five-set opening win against Nardi with a dominant victory against Cobolli in which he lost just five games. But Stricker enters Day 3 behind an equally comprehensive victory against Nardi, setting the stage for a high-level encounter.

The pair met once before, with Stricker notching a 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory this July in Gstaad.

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In the Red Group, Jordanian wild card Abdullah Shelbayh will look to build on the considerable momentum he gained from flying through the last eight games of his Wednesday win against Alex Michelsen. The rising Arab star, whose native Jordan neighbours Saudi Arabia, will take on Serbia’s Hamad Medjedovic knowing a three-set or four-set win will guarantee his place in the semi-finals.

“I’ve known him since we were 10 years old,” said Shelbayh of Medjedovic. “I think it was in Italy the first time I met him. He’s a great guy, I know his family very well and they’re great people. It’s not going to be an easy match. We’ve never played against each other, but we have played doubles together. We won a title in Turkey together as well.

“I think it’s going to be a fun match to play. Another important one for me and also for him depending on his match today, but every win now counts for all of us in the group so of course I’m going to have to focus on recovering well and see how tomorrow goes.”

Medjedovic, who tops the group at 2-0 after closing Wednesday’s play with a win against Luca Van Assche, is also looking forward to meeting his buddy on the court.

“Abdullah is a great friend of mine,” said the Serbian. “I’ve known him since I was a little kid. He’s a great player, we won a doubles title together when we were kids and I’m just happy to face him tomorrow.”

Also in the Red Group, the second-seeded Van Assche will meet Michelsen, who still has a potential path to the semi-finals despite his 0-2 record.


CENTRE COURT start 3 p.m.
[5] F. Cobolli (ITA) vs. [7] L. Nardi (ITA)

Not Before 4 p.m.

[1] A. Fils (FRA) vs. [3] D. Stricker (SUI)

Not Before 8 p.m.

[2] L. Van Assche (FRA) vs. [4] A. Michelsen (USA)
[6] H. Medjedovic (SER) vs. [WC/8] A. Shelbayh (JOR)

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Medjedovic Moves Top Of Group With Van Assche Victory

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Medjedovic Moves Top Of Group With Van Assche Victory

Serbian improves to 2-0 in Red Group

After winning a marathon five-setter to open his Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM campaign, Hamad Medjedovic got the job done in four sets on Wednesday night against second seed Luca Van Assche.

In a 4-2, 2-4, 4-3(7), 4-1 victory, the Serbian saved three set points and battled back from 1/5 down in a pivotal third-set tie-break. In serving out the match, he saved three break points as he closed out the win with two unreturned serves.

“For sure the tie-break changed a lot of things in this match,” said the World No. 110. “He had three set points. I stayed focussed on the important points. I was consistent, hitting the ball hard, and I’m glad that I won the tie-break.”

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Medjedovic moved to the top of the Red Group at 2-0 behind the win. Both his form and his record leave him in strong position to qualify for the semi-finals, though his place in the knockout stages is not yet confirmed.

“I felt that my backhand today worked really well,” said the powerful Serbian, who hit 29 winners, including 13 aces. “I was having confidence playing to his backhand, also on the forehand. I played good from both sides.”

The 20-year-old will bid to complete a perfect 3-0 group campaign on Thursday when he meets Abdullah Shelbayh. Van Assche, now 1-1 in Jeddah, will play American Alex Michelsen on the final day of group play.

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#NextGenATP Stricker On Following Fed & Stan: ‘Switzerland Will Be Looking’

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

#NextGenATP Stricker On Following Fed & Stan: ‘Switzerland Will Be Looking’

21-year-old is third seed at Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM

All great eras must come to an end, but the next one also has to start somewhere.

Dominic Stricker is well aware of the void that will be left in Swiss tennis once Stan Wawrinka joins Roger Federer in retirement from the ATP Tour. The 21-year-old Stricker grew up watching his two countrymen regularly lifting the biggest titles in the game and competing in some of the most memorable matches in history.

While the achievements of Federer and Wawrinka will be a tough act to follow for Switzerland’s next generation of ATP Tour stars, the Alpine nation may have already unearthed a natural successor in Stricker. His clean-hitting lefty game has already earned him five ATP Challenger Tour titles and a career-high of No. 88 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“I think Roger’s retirement was very emotional for of us, especially maybe for us Swiss players,” Stricker told in Jeddah, where he is the third seed at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. “Stan is putting in a lot of work for us young players. The fact that he’s playing Davis Cup again is amazing for us. He’s here to help us all the time.

“It’s not going to be easy when Stan retires as well, but it’s also great for me that then the whole of Switzerland will be looking out for the next Roger and Stan. It’s just good to have them in your country and to know that the country really follows tennis a lot.”

Stricker remembers when he became one of those millions of Swiss fans who followed all-time great Federer and three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka as they took on the world’s best.

“I think I followed them as soon as they were on TV and as soon as I got a bit more into tennis,” said Stricker. “I don’t remember the first match that I saw, but of course there are a few you will never forget.

“I started [playing] when I was six, but I think I [became more aware of Federer and Wawrinka] maybe somewhere around 10 or 11. I became Swiss champion when I was 11, so maybe that was the time I got a bit more into tennis and everything got a bit more serious.”

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Federer and Wawrinka’s influence on Stricker became more direct once he met his illustrious countrymen in person. Before he retired, Federer twice invited the youngster to practise in Dubai, while the 38-year-old Wawrinka is now his colleague on the ATP Tour.

“I know Roger and Stan are two amazing players,” said Stricker. “I think they did a lot for the for the sport in our country. I’ve had the pleasure to practice with both and that’s just something I will never forget, because these guys are two of the best players that we’ve ever had.

“It’s just great to know that they’re always here if I have any questions, to be here to answer them for me, and I think that’s very good to know.”

Wawrinka has proven more than just a reliable source of off-court advice this year for Stricker. In July the pair took to the doubles court together on home soil in Gstaad and dropped just one set all week en route to the title at the clay-court ATP 250.

<a href=Dominic Stricker and Stan Wawrinka” />

Dominic Stricker and Stan Wawrinka won a doubles title in July in Gstaad. Photo Credit: Fabian Meierhans/EFG Swiss Open Gstaad

“It was a great experience,” recalled Stricker. “We decided very late to actually team up and then we got used to each other and better after every round. To do it at home was even better. It was just a great week and a title I will never forget.

“I think [Stan] always told us young players that we should come to him and ask him, that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask him anything. He’s always very nice. He is so open to us, and we can really ask him everything. That’s just great to know that you can ask a player like Stan everything.”

While happy to take guidance from his illustrious countrymen, Stricker isn’t sure his naturally aggressive game can be easily compared to either Federer or Wawrinka.

“Stan is maybe a bit more defensive gameplay-wise, I would say, but still if he can, he goes for it,” he said. “I think Roger, he just had the perfect game. He served very well, he had a great return, great backhand and an even better forehand.

“I think maybe [I am] a bit more similar to Roger, because he really tried to be offensive, as I do as well. I would say my game is more like Roger’s, but still, it’s very different.”

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Fils Makes Statement In Basecamp, First Tennis Combine

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Fils Makes Statement In Basecamp, First Tennis Combine

Players undertook four skill challenges

Who claimed bragging rights in Jeddah before the on-court action had even begun at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM?

Seven competitors at this year’s 21-and-under event in Jeddah undertook physical drills at King Abdullah Sports City, where they participated in ‘Basecamp’. The tennis combine measured the physical and athletic skills of the ATP Tour’s next generation of tennis stars. The challenges included a 10-Metre Sprint, a Vertical jump, a 5-0-5 Drill and a Star Drill.

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An Introduction To ‘Basecamp’ At The Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM

Frenchman Arthur Fils produced a standout display, topping the leaderboard in all of the challenges. The 19-year-old leapt 51cm in the Vertical Jump, one cm clear of second-placed Flavio Cobolli and 5cm ahead of third-placed Abdullah Shelbayh.

Fils ran the 10 Metre-Sprint in 1.72 seconds, with Shelbayh (1.75s) and Luca Nardi (1.76s) completing the top three. The Frenchman topped the Forehand and Backhand 5-0-5 Test, recording times of 2.63 seconds and 2.29 seconds.

“I am really happy about it,” Fils said. “It is nice and I am pleased to have had some good results. The guys did good, but I did better.

“It is nice because you have targets. I had to pass 50[cm] in the jump and I made it, so I am happy. It was very nice. I am doing these drills by myself and with my coach but here, it is the first time I am doing the Vertical Jump. I am happy to do it and it is nice to do a competition with the boys. I hate losing. If I can push a little bit more, I will push a little bit more.”

10-Metre Sprint

Italians Nardi and Cobolli performed well at the combine, similar to that which has long been used in the NFL. Nardi earned three top-three finishes (10-Metre Sprint, Backhand 5-0-5 Test, Star Drill), while Cobolli was in the top three four times (Backhand 5-0-5 Test, Forehand 5-0-5 Test, Vertical Jump, Star Drill).

Basecamp Star

Both enjoyed the experience and even challenged the biggest stars on Tour to give Basecamp a go.

“It was a good experience for us. It is the first we are doing this for everyone,” Cobolli said. “I want [Carlos] Alcaraz to do this for sure.”

Nardi added: “The best compared to Flavio for me was the 10-Metre Sprint. I think I made a good time but I think the 5-0-5 Drill Test was a good test and I hope I can do better in the future if I have the chance. I want Novak [Djokovic] to do it.”

Dominic Stricker’s best result came in the Forehand 5-0-5 Test, with the Swiss finishing second.


“It was good to do some of the tests,” Stricker said. “It was great to do some sprints and direction changes. I think it is good and for the preseason coming in December, so we can see what to work on and I will try to get faster.”

Basecamp Reaction

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An Introduction To 'Basecamp' At The Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

An Introduction To ‘Basecamp’ At The Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM

Learn more about the pre-tournament physical competition

Welcome to Basecamp.

Seven competitors at the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM were put through their paces Sunday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. ‘Basecamp’ is one of a several innovations being introduced for the latest edition of the 21-and-under event, to be held from 28 November to 2 December.

So what exactly is Basecamp? Similar to the NFL’s Scouting Combine, it is a selection of tailored and general challenges that measure the physical and athletic skills of participants. The tests, which highlight the demands of being a professional tennis player, can be used to showcase the attributes of the ATP Tour’s next generation of tennis stars.

Here is all you need to know about Basecamp’s four challenges:

Vertical Jump

How It Works: Conducted on court using Force Plates, the player stands flat-footed on a mat before jumping and reach as high as they can. The player’s height off the floor will be measured to determine a score.
Attribute Being Measured: Power

<a href=Flavio Cobolli” />

Flavio Cobolli does the Vertical Jump in Jeddah. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

10-Metre Sprint

How It Works: Conducted on court using timing gates and computer vision sprint assessment technology. From a static start, the player sprints 10 metres between timing gates as fast as possible.
Attributes Being Measured: Acceleration, Speed, Sprint Mechanics

Andullah Shelbayh

Abdullah Shelbayh performs the 10-Metre Sprint in Jeddah. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

5-0-5 Test

How It Works: The player starts on the centre of the baseline, facing the net. Two Light Signals are positioned close to the net, next to each other. If the left-hand Light Signal flashes, the player must run directly left to the side of the court and then back to the centre of the baseline. If the right-hand Light Signal flashes, the player must run directly right to the side of the court and then back to the centre of the baseline.
Attributes Being Measured: Agility, Reaction Time

<a href=Dominic Stricker” />

Dominic Stricker in action during the 5-0-5 Test in Jeddah. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Star Drill

How It Works: Conducted on court using Reactive Light Signals and timing gates. The player begins on the centre of the baseline and completes five out-and-back shuttle runs in a star formation, as fast as possible. The player must face the net at all times, and touch the Reactive Light Signal on the floor at each tip of the star.
Attribute Being Measured: Tennis-specific Movement

<a href=Arthur Fils” />

Arthur Fils performs the Star Drill in Jeddah. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

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Shelbayh's Strong Finish Halts Michelsen

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Shelbayh’s Strong Finish Halts Michelsen

Rising Arab star picks up first win this week

Wild card Abdullah Shelbayh may be the lowest-ranked man at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, but the Jordanian showcased his immense potential on Wednesday night.

Entering Jeddah at a career-high of No. 185 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the 20-year-old downed Alex Michelsen 4-2, 1-4, 4-0, 4-0 to pick up his fourth Top 100 win. After World No. 97 Michelsen levelled the match with a powerful second set, Shelbayh dominated the final two sets by moving his opponent around the court with majestic ball control.

The result moves Shelbayh to 1-1 on the week and puts him in strong position to qualify for the semi-finals out of the Red Group.

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“Having the opportunity to play here now to finish the year, I couldn’t ask for a better end to the year,” he said post-match. “I appreciate all the support throughout the week that I’ve been receiving already, of course throughout the year and from the Arab world especially.”

Shelbayh thrilled the Jeddah crowd with his shotmaking and tallied 26 winners, including seven aces, in the victory. He will finish his group campaign against Hamad Medjedovic on Thursday, when Michelsen will meet Luca Van Assche.

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Dallas Open To Move To Dallas Cowboys HQ/Training Facility From 2025

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Dallas Open To Move To Dallas Cowboys HQ/Training Facility From 2025

Move in conjunction with event’s upgrade to ATP 500

The Dallas Open on Wednesday announced that from 2025 the tournament will be held at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco – the Dallas Cowboys World Corporate Headquarters and Training Facility. The Cowboys are a National Football League team.

The move comes in conjunction with the tournament’s upgrade to the ATP 500 level from 2025, which was announced earlier this month. Doha and Munich will also be upgraded to ATP 500 events.

The Dallas Open is currently held at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex, which is on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The tournament moved to the city in 2022 and has been won by Reilly Opelka and Wu Yibing.

“We are thrilled that the Dallas Open has been chosen as a new ATP 500 tournament,” Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs said. “We want to thank our longtime friend and Dallas local John Isner, who was very supportive of our effort to take the Dallas Open to the 500-level. We’re very excited for the thousands of enthusiastic tennis fans in the North Texas region. We’ve been building to this, and we will continue to improve all aspects of the tournament for everyone involved.”

Charlotte Jones, Owner & Chief Brand Officer for the Dallas Cowboys, said: “The success of this action-packed tournament over such a short time makes it a natural draw for sports fans who flock to Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

“This facility and campus was built not only as the World Corporate Headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys, but also to host world class events like this one, and we’re thrilled to host the stars of pro tennis at Ford Center at the Star in Frisco.”

<a href=Dallas Open” />
Credit: Dallas Open

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Football Fanatic Cobolli Supports Which Club?

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Football Fanatic Cobolli Supports Which Club?

Italian is competing in Jeddah this week

Flavio Cobolli cracked the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in October shortly after winning his second ATP Challenger Tour title. The 21-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals at the ATP 250 event in Munich in April, made his major main-draw debut at Roland Garros in May, where he faced Carlos Alcaraz in the opening round. The Florence native is one of two Italians competing at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.

But what is Cobolli like off-court? caught up with the World No. 100 to talk about his perfect day without tennis, his love for football and more…

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If you could have dinner with three people, who would they be and why?
I will invite Daniele De Rossi, he’s a big football player in Rome. He’s my idol outside the court. Also Cristiano Ronaldo, and Novak Djokovic because I started to play tennis because of him and Fabio Fognini. I know Fabio, so I will choose Novak.

Describe your perfect day if you are not playing tennis.
I will sleep for a long time. Then I will hang out with my girlfriend. Play padel with my friends and play a football match. Then I will go to the stadium to watch AS Roma. I am a big fan of AS Roma. I have a tattoo for them.

If you had to choose between attending a music concert or a sporting event, what would you choose and why?
Sport event. My main sport outside of tennis is football, but I don’t like to watch tennis. So if I can choose between a tennis match and a football match, I would go to watch football.

Do you remember Italy winning the men’s European Championships two years ago?
Yeah, I watched the first match because I was in Rome and the others I watched on TV.

If you weren’t a tennis player, what job would you want?
I’d be a football player for sure, or a fireman.

Did you play football when you were younger?
I started to play tennis at two and then I changed to football. When I played football when I was young, I played four days a week and two days of tennis. Then I chose at 14 to go back to tennis. If I stayed in that way, maybe now I’d be in Serie A. (Laughs).

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What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in your life?
I jumped into a swimming pool from 15 metres.

Who are your best friends on tour?
My best friend is Matteo Gigante. We started to play tennis at the same time. I miss him here. The situation with Luca Nardi is the same, we started to play at the same time and he is also a big friend.

What’s something you’ve learned playing this year?
I learned a lot of things but the important thing is work hard day by day. Because if you stopped for five hours, you stopped for one day. So you lose one day.

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The 2023 ATP Awards Nominees Are…

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

The 2023 ATP Awards Nominees Are…

Jannik Sinner nominated for Most Improved and Sportsmanship awards

Jannik Sinner and his coaches, Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi, have been honoured with nominations in the 2023 ATP Awards, with nominees revealed today for the four player-voted categories and for Coach of the Year.

Sinner has been nominated for Most Improved Player of the Year, following a season in which he rose to a career-high No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and won four titles from seven finals. He is up against Italian Davis Cup teammate Matteo Arnaldi and Americans Christopher Eubanks and Ben Shelton in this category. The 22-year-old Sinner also receives a nod for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, which will feature a first-time winner with Carlos Alcaraz, Grigor Dimitrov and Hubert Hurkacz among the other nominees.   

Meanwhile, Cahill and Vagnozzi have been nominated in the Coach category alongside Craig Boynton (Hubert Hurkacz), 2022 winner Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz), Goran Ivanisevic (Novak Djokovic) and Bryan Shelton (Ben Shelton). Ivanisevic guided Novak Djokovic to a record eighth finish as ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone this season. 

Arthur Fils, the top seed at this week’s Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, is one of five nominees for Newcomer of the Year, which includes #NextGenATP players who broke into the Top 100 for the first time in 2023.

Nominees for Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award are determined by an International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) vote. Coach of the Year nominees are selected through first-round voting by ATP coaches.

ATP Awards winners, including Fans’ Favourite, will be revealed during Awards week, starting 11 December. Fans can vote for their favourite singles player and doubles team through Friday, 1 December.

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View the complete list of 2023 ATP Awards nominees:


Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has overcome serious injury in re-establishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP Tour.

Dominik Koepfer
Gael Monfils
Jan-Lennard Struff
Alexander Zverev

Most Improved Player of the Year: The player who reached a significantly higher Pepperstone ATP Ranking by year’s end and who demonstrated an increasingly improved level of performance through the year.

Matteo Arnaldi
Christopher Eubanks
Ben Shelton
Jannik Sinner

Newcomer of the Year: The #NextGenATP player who broke into the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time in 2023 and made the biggest impact on the ATP Tour this season.

Flavio Cobolli
Arthur Fils
Alex Michelsen 
Dominic Stricker
Luca Van Assche

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: The player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

Carlos Alcaraz
Grigor Dimitrov
Hubert Hurkacz
Jannik Sinner


Coach of the Year: Nominated and voted on by fellow ATP coach members, this award goes to the ATP coach who helped guide his players to a higher level of performance during the year.

Craig Boynton (Hubert Hurkacz)
Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi (Jannik Sinner)
Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz)
Goran Ivanisevic (Novak Djokovic)
Bryan Shelton (Ben Shelton)

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Fils Stays Perfect In Jeddah

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2023

Fils Stays Perfect In Jeddah

Frenchman moves to 2-0 in Green Group

Arthur Fils demonstrated his top-seed credentials at this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM on Wednesday when he dispatched Flavio Cobolli 4-1, 4-2, 4-2 in 59 minutes.

The Frenchman came out firing his first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with the Italian, outmanoeuvring Cobolli with his weight and depth of shot to improve to 2-0 in Green Group play. Fils undertook the ‘SIU’ celebration, associated with football star Cristiano Ronaldo, following his win.

“I played very nice today,” said Fils. “I served very good, and I was moving well on the court, so I am very happy about it. Tomorrow I have a good match against a great opponent. He already beat me once this year, so let’s see what I can do.”

Fils, who defeated Luca Nardi in five sets in his opening match, will meet Dominic Stricker in his final round-robin clash. Stricker and Cobolli both hold 1-1 records going into their final matches. Italian Cobolli faces countryman Nardi, who is 0-2, on Thursday.

Fils is aiming to become the sixth champion at the 21-and-under event, joining Top 10 stars Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas

Earlier this year the 19-year-old Fils lifted his maiden tour-level title in Lyon, while he reached the title match in Antwerp. He is playing at a career-high No. 36 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week.

Physicality Index Insights
Cobolli was unable to push Fils into the red zone, making him perform a high percentage of explosive movements. In this match, Cobolli did all of the fast and intense movements, accumulating 72% more high speed distance than Fils. Fils was able to keep his Physicality Index way below his season average of 7.4. It was actually his lowest Physicality Index rating of the entire season, only reaching a 5.3. This was largely due in part to Fils being in attack over one-third of the points, and keeping the points short (avg. rally length 3.5).

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