Tennis news
into your inbox

Thousands have already subscribed


Lehecka makes fast start at Next Gen Finals

The Czech saw off Italy’s Francesco Passaro in straight sets to begin the 2022 competition

Jiri Lehecka November 2022 Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

Czech Jiri Lehecka made a perfect start at the Next Gen Finals in Milan on Tuesday as he beat Italian Francesca Passaro in straight sets in the first match of this year’s competition.

The 20-year-old No 5 seed, who has risen to No 74 after a breakthrough year on the ATP Tour, cruised to a 4-1, 4-3 (7), 4-1 victory over the No 8 seed in 65 minutes to open the Green Group in style.

“It was a great experience for me,” Lehecka said. “I had never played a match in this format for me. In the beginning, I was getting used to it at the beginning but I got used to it pretty fast and it was fun.

“One break is a lot in the beginning of a set. In a normal set you have plenty of time to get back; here if you are 2-1 and you break him, you are serving for the set. Super happy that I won this match, first match in the tournament is always tricky. Happy with that one.”

Passaro, ranked No 119, showed plenty of spirit, battling back from a break down in the second set to force a tiebreak, and then saving two set points in the breaker. But Lehecka snatched the second set on the tiebreak and then pulled away in the third for victory.

A semi-finalist at Rotterdam in February, Lehecka narrowly missed out on a place in the Next Gen Finals last year but qualified easily this time for the eight-man event, to showcase the best 21 and under players in the world.

Lorenzo Musetti was due to take on Chun-Hsin Tseng in the first match of the Red Group later on Tuesday afternoon.

People in this post

Your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *