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By Chris Oddo | Friday November 10, 2017

Hyeon Chung will bid for his first career title on Saturday after winning his first four matches at the NextGen ATP Finals in Milan. The 21-year-old World No.54 has had a solid season at the ATP-level, reaching quarterfinals at Barcelona and Winston-Salem and a semifinal at Munich, but he has saved his best for last against the cream of the crop of ATP’s generation next.

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On Friday he battled past Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, 4-1, 4-1, 3-4(4), 1-4, 4-0, to book a final with another Russian, 20-year-old Andrey Rublev.

It was Chung’s fourth consecutive win. He looked to be headed to a dominant victory when he won the opening two sets, but he was forced to go the distance with a resilient Medvedev after the Russian upped his level in sets three and four.

“I had to stay calm,” Chung said, according to ATPWorldTour.com after the match. “Just trying to stay calm and he was playing good, so I had to play the same as I did in the first and second set.”

Rublev eased past Borna Coric in Friday’s first semifinal, 4-1, 4-3(6), 4-1. Rublev reached his first ATP final and won his first ATP title at Umag this summer. The Moscow native reached his fist major quarterfinal at the U.S. Open in September and carries a ranking of 37 in the world.

Rublev lost to Chung in round robin play while winning five-setters over Italian wild card Gianluigi Quinzi and Denis Shapovalov. He has made no secret of the fact that he doesn’t love the short-set format at the World Tour Finals. "With these rules, everyone can beat everyone, and in my opinion is a little bit not fair,” he told Reem Abulleil of Sport 360 earlier in the week.

The tournament employs shorter sets, electronic line-calling, shorter warmups, a shot clock, no lets on serves and on-court coaching. The experimentation has made for some interesting moments. Carlos Bernardes inadvertently called a let by force of habit, and there have been several humorous moments between players and coaches during the coaching timeouts. They are conducted with headsets, in English, with the viewers often getting more information from the players than they expected. Some of it is technical and tactical, while other times there have been suprising confessions of fatigue or lack of confidence.

Rublev won’t be complaining if he wins the title—he’ll claim $335,000 with a victory on Saturday, while Chung would earn $390,000 if he remains undefeated.

 

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