Brandon Nakashima does it again at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.
The 2021 semi-finalist set a 2-0 record in this year’s edition of the season finale aged 21 and over with an impressive 4-1, 4-3 (2), 4-2 win against Jiri Lehecka on Wednesday in Milan .
With the unique first-to-four-game set format, Nakashima’s devastating early hit earned him the first set at the Allianz Cloud in just 17 minutes. The fourth seed’s forehand remained a particularly powerful weapon during his first tour-level encounter with Lehecka, who made up a 1-3 deficit to force a tiebreak in the second set. The 20-year-old Czech then led 2-0 in the third set, but was unable to keep the pressure on his free flowing opponent.
“When I got into it, I knew it was definitely going to be another tough game,” said Nakashima after his 69-minute win. “He’s playing a very solid game, very flat, a very progressive game, so I knew I had to minimize the mistakes on my side and be as aggressive as possible from the first ball. I thought I did that pretty well today, so [I am] happy with the win.”
Nakashima hit 21 winners, including seven aces, and converted four of the 10 break points during his win. He later attributed his hard-fought five-set win over Matteo Arnaldi on Tuesday to his help against Lehecka.
“I think yesterday helped me a lot today,” Nakashima said. “I was much more used to the conditions here. Playing a long game here, extra time getting used to the field and the crowd here. I thought I played really well today and I’m going to try to keep it up.”
Nakashima is now 2-0 in Groene Groep, although he is not yet sure of a place in the semi-finals. The 21-year-old will take on Francesco Passaro in his final round-robin match on Thursday, when Lehecka also plays against Arnaldi.