Sunday, June 16, 2024

Next Gen ATP Finals: Despite defeat to Fils, Stricker reaches semis

Despite defeat, Dominic Stricker sealed his spot in the semi-finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals on Thursday when he won the one set he needed against already-qualified Arthur Fils, here at King Abdullah Sports City.

After Luca Nardi defeated Flavio Cobolli earlier, 21-year-old Stricker walked onto court in Jeddah knowing that he would advance to the semi-finals if he won just one set.

Stricker dropped the first set but responded to win the second set. Frenchman Fils eventually sealed a 4-2, 3-4(3), 4-2, 4-3(5) win after one hour and 47 minutes to end the Green Group stage with a perfect 3-0 record.

“I knew before the match [that I had qualified], but I just want to win every match that I’m playing,” said Fils in his on-court interview. “I think I put a little bit more focus out there today than the first two days because I know this opponent and he already beat me this year. It was a tough match, but I’m really happy to win and let’s see who I get in the semi-final.”

Stricker has now reached the semi-finals at the 21-and-under event twice, having advanced to the last four 12 months ago. Fils qualified after Nardi defeated Cobolli, who therefore needed Fils to beat Stricker in straight sets.

Top seed Fils is aiming to become the sixth champion at the 21-and-under event, joining Top 10 stars Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 19-year-old will find out who his semi-final opponent is after night session play in Jeddah.

Earlier this year, Fils lifted his maiden tour-level title in Lyon, while he reached the title match in Antwerp. He is playing at a career-high No. 36 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week.

Stricker’s best result in 2023 was a fourth-round run at the US Open.

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