#NextGenATP Q3 Review: Lorenzo Musetti Shines, Jack Draper & Brandon Nakashima Make Moves | ATP Tour
As the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan heats up, a number of #NextGenATP stars have achieved remarkable results in the third quarter of the season to boost their chances of qualifying for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.
Italian Lorenzo Musetti beat Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz to claim his maiden tour-level title in Hamburg, while Jack Draper and Ben Shelton made their mark at the ATP Masters 1000 events in North America. Brandon Nakashima, who is aiming to take part in the 21-and-under event in November for a second consecutive season, impressed on the lawns of Wimbledon and Jiri Lehecka continued his strong season with an ATP Challenger Tour title.
Leaders Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner also broke new ground in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, with 19-year-old Alcaraz winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.
See the latest Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan standings
Alcaraz and Sinner stay ahead
As the world watched, Alcaraz made history at the US Open, defeating Casper Ruud in the final to clinch his first Grand Slam crown and secure the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP ranking.
The Spaniard now holds an outstanding 51-9 record on the season, having won the ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid earlier this year. The 19-year-old is the youngest player to reach No. 1 in Pepperstone’s ATP rankings history (since 1973) and the fourth Spaniard, joining his current coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal.
Jannik Sinner remains second in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan after advancing to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. The Italian also claimed his first title of the season at tour level in July when he beat Alcaraz in the Umag final.
No. 3 Lorenzo Musetti, 1266 points
After a steady rise over the past 18 months, Musetti had his finest moment on the ATP Tour in July, when he clinched his maiden clay-court tour-level title in Hamburg.
The Italian saved two match points in the first round against Dusan Lajovic, before producing extinguished tennis, beating Emil Ruusuvuori, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Francisco Cerundolo to reach his first tour-level final. With the pressure on, the 20-year-old defeated Carlos Alcaraz in an all-#NextGenATP blockbuster to claim the ATP 500 crown.
“For me it’s a dream,” Musetti said after winning the title in Germany. “Obviously, I always dreamed of winning a title and I had no chance before. I think my best result was a semi-final, so I never had the chance to play a final. I’m really happy with this week. I think we did an incredible job and now we will celebrate and enjoy it for the next few days.
Musetti, who became the 10th winner of the season for the first time, hit a career-high No. 30 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings in early August. After earning a top seed at the US Open, the Italian played with renewed confidence in his second appearance in New York. He edged out David Goffin and Gijs Brouwer on the hard courts to advance to the third round.
The 20-year-old is currently third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan as he closes in on qualifying for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second straight year.
Read the highlights of the 2022 ATP Next Gen Finals
Jack Draper No. 5, 925 points
Britain’s Draper continued his stellar season on English lawns and North American hard courts, bolstering his hopes of qualifying Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.
The 20-year-old, who won four ATP Challenger Tour titles in the first four months of the season, raced to his first tour-level semi-final on the grass in Eastbourne, toppling Diego Schwartzman , Top 20 stars, on the way. . Draper then made his biggest wave in Montreal, where he turned heads by reaching the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters 1000.
After passing qualifying, the southpaw earned his first Top 10 victory in the second round of the tournament on hard court, stunning Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. He then passed Gael Monfils, before being stopped by eventual champion Pablo Carreno Busta.
“That’s why I worked hard, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said after his win over Tsitsipas.
“I just thought I had to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve admired for a few years. It’s just good to be here and try to express myself on this stage.
Draper then rocked at the US Open and put on a show, dispatching sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the third round on his New York debut.
No. 7 Brandon Nakashima, 592 points
Consistency was the name of the game for Nakashima in recent months on the ATP Tour. The American looked comfortable on the grass at Wimbledon, knocking out Canadian Top 20 Denis Shapovalov en route to his first appearance in the fourth round of a Grand Slam. The 21-year-old, who lost to eventual finalist Nick Kyrgios in five sets, was one of four Americans to reach the last 16, which was the most at SW19 since 1999.
“It was amazing there. Playing against such a top player on one of the biggest stages, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Nakashima said after his first Top 20 win over Shapovalov. “The crowd was great today.”
Nakashima then crossed the North Atlantic Ocean, where he reached back-to-back hard-court quarterfinals in Atlanta and Los Cabos.
After disappointing first-round outings in Montreal and Cincinnati, the American found his best at the US Open. Nakashima got past Pavel Kotov and former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, before running out of steam in his third-round match against 11th seed Jannik Sinner.
No. 14 Ben Shelton, 280 points
Shelton entered the race to qualify for the 21-and-under event in Milan in November after spending a scorching summer in North America.
The American, who studied at the University of Florida, won the NCAA singles title as a sophomore earlier this year to earn a wild card for the US Open. However, fans didn’t have to wait for the fourth major of the season to see the 19-year-old in action.
After reaching his first ATP Challenger Tour final in July, Shelton made his tour-level debut in Atlanta. The southpaw overtook Ramkumar Ramanathan to claim his first ATP Tour win, before scaring compatriot John Isner in a third-set tie-break loss.
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Photo credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Shelton then made his debut at the ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, where he made his biggest mark yet. The local favorite confirmed his first-round win over Lorenzo Sonego by shocking Norway’s Casper Ruud in straight sets.
“If he plays like he did today in every game for the rest of his career, I think he will go a long way,” Ruud told ATPTour.com. “I think it surprised me a bit how well he played. I knew he was a young, promising and great player. But today he was painting lines as we call him and hit all the places he needed to. It was really impressive to see.”
After his third-round loss to Cameron Norrie, Shelton made the decision to turn professional, although he was eligible to study in Florida for another two years. The American is currently 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan and will need a strong end to the season if he wants to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.
Others to Watch
Czech Lehecka is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, while Chun-Hsin Tseng is eighth. Lehecka won his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy of the season in August, while Chinese Taipei’s Tseng picked up his first tour-level victory in Los Cabos.
Italy’s Francesco Passaro, 21, soared to a Challenger Tour crown on clay in July and is currently ninth, with Dominic Stricker, 20, 10th. The Swiss left-hander made it through qualifying to reach the second round in Stuttgart, before securing his second Challenger Tour title of the year on home soil.
Holger Rune remains fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan after a run to the third round of the US Open.