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Nakashima makes winning start to Next Gen finals with Cerundolo victory

This year’s Next Gen finals got under way with a sound win for the 20-year-old

Brandon Nakashima September 29, 2021, San Diego, California, USA: BRANDON NAKASHIMA of the United States hits a ball to opponent Andrey Rublev of Russia at the San Diego Open tennis tournament. (Credit Image: © David Barak/ZUMA Press Wire) || 208400_0003 2021 ATP open PRESS sport sports tennis tournoi zcontractphotographer zlast24 zselect Zuma zwire

Next Gen ATP Finals | Draw | Order of play

Fourth seed Brandon Nakashima made a winning start to his 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals campaign, beating Juan Manuel Cerundolo 4-1, 3-4, 4-1, 4-0.

“I am really happy with how I played in front of all these fans,” said Nakashima immediately afterwards. “[It was important] to stay there mentally. A lot of crucial points out there with the no-ad [scoring] and then in the second set he kind of picked up his level and I had to battle.”

The American, ranked 28 places higher than his opponent, had won both their previous matches – one last year in a Futures event in California, and one back in 2017, in the second round of the Orange Bowl.

Nakashima hit 27 winners compared to the Argentinian’s 10, served five aces and won 15 of his 20 points at the net in a match that lasted one hour and 28 minutes.

In contrast, Cerundolo managed two aces, with no break opportunities at all.

Nakashima takes an early lead in the Group A round robin standings, with top seed Carlos Alcaraz playing Holger Rune later on Tuesday.

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