Seven qualifiers set for inaugural NextGen ATP Finals in Milan

The seven qualifiers for the first annual NextGen ATP Finals in Milan are set. With No. 1 in the race Alexander Zverev having withdrawn because of his upcoming appearance at the World Tour Finals, the field features Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Denis Shapovalov, Borna Coric, Jared Donaldson, Hyeon Chung, and Daniil Medvedev.

One more spot remains. It will be decided by a 21-and-under all-Italian event in early November, assuring that the host nation of the NextGen ATP Finals will have one representative in the eight-man field.

Frances Tiafoe had a chance to qualify heading into this week, but he drew none other than eventual champion Roger Federer in the Swiss Indoors Basel first round. A 6-1, 6-3 victory for Federer brought a swift end to Tiafoe’s hopes and will leave Donaldson as the lone American in Milan.

Donaldson has earned 21 of his 32 career ATP-level match wins this season. He has climbed to No. 50 in the world thanks in part to an awesome summer that was highlighted by a third-round performance at Wimbledon, third-round showings in Washington, D.C. and at the Rogers Cup, and a quarterfinal run in Cincinnati.

“It’s obviously a great feeling when you feel like you’re hard work is paying off,” Donaldson said. “But I think it feels that much better because players and i think fans know how difficult it is to get good results. Everybody’s hungry; everybody wants to win. And that’s why when you do get them, it’s very rewarding.”

Shapovalov is one other North American participant. The Canadian also surged into prominence this summer with a semifinal appearance at the Rogers Cup and a fourth-round performance at the U.S. Open.

“Only eight guys get the privilege to play such a prestigious event,” Shapovalov commented. “So I’m going to enjoy myself and try to do the best I can.”

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