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Thursday February 29, 2024

Frenchman Fils into Next Gen final

By AFP
December 03, 2023

JEDDAH: Arthur Fils became the first Frenchman to reach the championship match at the Next Gen ATP Finals with a 2-4, 4-1, 4-3 (7/1), 4-3 (8/6) victory over compatriot Luca Van Assche on Friday night.

In a rematch of the 2021 Roland Garros junior final, Fils avenged his defeat from two years ago to book a title showdown against Serbia´s Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the final when Swiss opponent Dominic Stricker retired with a back injury while trailing 3-4 (5/7), 1-2.

Frenchman Arthur Fils, during a Paris Masters match against German Daniel Altmaier, October 31, 2023 in Paris.  —AFP File
Frenchman Arthur Fils, during a Paris Masters match against German Daniel Altmaier, October 31, 2023 in Paris.  —AFP File

It was Fils´ fourth victory from four matches contested at King Abdullah Sports City this week, and he has gone 12-4 in sets so far at the 21-and-under tournament.

The 19-year-old, who hit a career-high ranking of 36 in October after capturing a maiden ATP title in Lyon in May, will be looking to wrap up a breakthrough 2023 with more silverware when he takes on Medjedovic in the final on Saturday.

“I have a very, very tough final to play against Hamad. We have known each other for a long time, we played juniors together so I know that he has an unbelievable serve. He has the fastest serve of the tournament so it´s going to be a tough one,” said Fils of the 20-year-old Medjedovic, who has struck a tournament-leading 50 aces so far through four matches.

“I think if I play my game it´s going to be a good match for sure because with his tennis and with my tennis, we´re all together playing bombs. He´s a nice guy and I hope next year will be a very good one for him, but not tomorrow I hope.”

The first two Frenchmen to reach the semis in the six-year history of the Next Gen ATP Finals tournament, Fils and Van Assche had to put their friendship aside as they stepped on court for their last-four clash.