Favourite Fils wins Next Gen opener, defeats Nardi
Arthur Fils won the first-ever Next Gen Finals match to be held in Jeddah
“It was a tough match,” said Fils afterwards. “Things can change very quickly…I was feeling very good and then, I don’t know, I lost a deuce point and everything changed.
“I’m looking forward to playing the second match.”
In an encounter that lasted two hours exactly, Nardi is likely to feel a little unfortunate – hitting more winners (19 to Fils’ 16) and fewer unforced errors (28 to Fils’ 33). Yet Fils won 84 total points, and Nardi only 84, and the Frenchman was much more consistent at the net, taking nine of 11 points there (Nardi 12 of 17).
He was also stronger on serve, winning 80 per cent on his first serve and 59 on his second compared to Nardi’s 75 on first and 44 on second.
And it was the forehand winner of Fils on match point that sealed the result; it was his tenth of the match.
It was the first time the two had faced each other, but the 20-year-old Italian went into the match knowing that he had never yet beaten a player ranked in the world top 50, having lost on his previous five attempts.
However, he has enjoyed a fantastic November, winning eight matches – including a run to the Challenger title in Matsuyama – and losing only one before today.
The Frenchman won his first ATP tour title this year, in Lyon, and over the past 12 months has climbed 213 ranking spots from world No 249 to world No 36.