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Chung wins inaugural Next Gen finals, first ATP title

Chung wins inaugural Next Gen  finals, first ATP title

MILAN: South Korean iceman Chung Hyeon doused the fire of Russian Andrey Rublev to win the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals on Saturday — pocketing a $390,000 cheque in the process.

The bespectacled 21-year-old was outplayed in the first set and was 3-1 behind in the second set before taking over to win 3-4 (5-7), 4-3 (7-2), 4-2, 4-2 to go through the five-day round-robin tournament unbeaten.

It took Chung just under two hours to win his first ATP title, sealing the result with a powerful crosscourt forehand on his third match point.

“After losing the first set, and down one break in the second, I was really nervous, really angry, but I tried to have a poker face,” said Chung. “I’m trying to create an image of being really strong mentally and I starting playing better and better,” he said.

It was Chung’s third victory over Rublev. He beat the Russian earlier in the week and also at Winston-Salem on the ATP Tour in August.

The Russian said he had let his emotions take control.

“I was playing much better than him. I was dictating the match, and then just because I let my emotion out and everything changed, because Chung, he was always there,” said Rublev. “He was always focused. He was always in the match.

“No matter if something goes wrong, he was still fighting. And me, from a little thing, I just lose my control and that’s it. I just lost because of my head. Mentally he’s really strong.”

The Next Gen Finals featured the top seven 21-and-under players in the rankings plus one Italian wild card. The tournament also trialed new rules, including shortened sets, no-Ad scoring, shot clocks, Hawk-Eye line calls, and no lets on serve.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2017

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