MILAN (Reuters) - South Korea’s Chung Hyeon maintained his 100 percent record at the Next Gen ATP Finals with a crushing victory over Russian Andrey Rublev on Wednesday to surge ahead in Group A.
Just as he did on Tuesday, the 21-year-old showed a liking for the various new innovations being tested out in Milan as he proved too solid for Rublev - the highest ranked player in the ATP’s new showcase event for the best players aged 21 and under.
World number 54 Chung, easy to spot in his distinctive white spectacles, won 4-0 4-1 4-3(1) to follow up his defeat of Canadian Denis Shapovalov - sealing a semi-final place with one round-robin match to spare.
Chung finished off Rublev in just over an hour, slightly longer than it took Karen Khachanov to beat American Jared Donaldson 4-1 4-3(2) 4-2 in Group B.
Donaldson is still without a set after two matches.
“I’m so happy to get my second win here, I had never played Rublev before,” Chung told reporters. “I’ve never played with these rules before, but I like them.”
The 18-year-old Shapovalov notched his first win when he beat Italian wildcard Gianluigi Quinzi 4-1 4-1 3-4(5) 4-3(5).
Shapovalov, ranked 51st, raced through the opening two sets against his fellow former junior Wimbledon champion before the match burst into life when the Italian found another gear.
Despite double-faulting on match point, however, Shapovalov claimed victory and will need to beat Rublev to reach the semis.
The eight-man tournament, showcasing the players who are tipped to be te future of men’s tennis, is using radical new rules aimed at increasing the popularity of the sport.
As well as sets being played only to four games, there are no advantage points, shot clocks to enforce the 25-second between points rule, no let serves and coaching via headphones at the end of sets.
Line judges have also been removed for the tournament with Hawk-Eye technology calling lines using an automated voice which on Wednesday was changed to include a female version after complaints that Tuesday’s voice was repetitive.
Shapovalov cracked 41 winners in an entertaining contest enjoyed by a sizeable crowd and said the new short set scoring format made for more intense matches.
“I feel with this format it’s going to go down to a lot more tiebreaks, a lot more intense moments just because there are so many less chances to break,” he said.
“If you do break, there’s not many chances to break back.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ed Osmond