Medjedovic, Llamas Ruiz, Nardi win Challenger titles

With the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah heating up, several #NextGenATP stars earned standout results in July, August and September to make their moves in a bid to boost their chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 28 November-2 December.

Stricker & Shelton Deliver At US Open
Ben Shelton and Dominic Stricker starred at the US Open, clinching career-best results at a major to consolidate their positions in the Live Race To Jeddah. The 20-year-old Shelton defeated countryman Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe to become the youngest American to reach the last four at the hard-court major since Michael Chang in 1992.

Stricker, currently seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah, advanced to the fourth round at a Grand Slam event for the first time. The 21-year-old Swiss had won only one major match (Wimbledon 2023) before arriving in New York, but showed fans how dangerous he can be with his big lefty serve.

Stricker upset World No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round to earn his first Top 10 win, before losing against Taylor Fritz in the fourth round.

"Such a great day for me, such a great win," Stricker said after beating Tsitsipas. "It gives me a lot of confidence and I think it is great to see from my team. We are working hard every day and it is so great to do that."

Fils & Van Assche Enjoy Hamburg Success
Frenchmen Arthur Fils and Luca Van Assche are fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Live Race To Jeddah. Fils and Van Assche were consistent on the Tour over the past two months, with both earning their standout result in Hamburg.

Fils, 19, advanced to his fourth tour-level semi-final of the season at the ATP 500 event, upsetting then-World No. 4 Casper Ruud for the biggest win of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking. Van Assche, 19, reached his first tour-level quarter-final on the clay in Hamburg. He beat Alexandre Muller and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Michelsen Stars On Home Soil, Medjedovic Makes Breakthrough
Alex Michelsen enjoyed success on home soil on the ATP Tour to climb to eighth in the Live Race To Jeddah. The 19-year-old American, who is aiming to make his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals, reached the title match in Newport in just his second tour-level event, before he advanced to the third round in Winston-Salem.

Serbian Medjedovic also broke new ground, reaching his first tour-level semi-final in Gstaad. The 20-year-old, who had not won a match at an ATP Tour tournament before Gstaad, then captured his third ATP Challenger Tour trophy of the season in Mallorca in September.

Medjedovic has been coached by countryman and former World No. 12 Viktor Troicki since the start of the year. The 20-year-old is pleased with how their partnership has developed.

“I’ve been working on many things with my coach Viktor. He’s been through the situations that I am [going] through now and he’s helping me a lot, especially with my mental game,” Medjedovic said.

Chasing Pack
A number of #NextGenATP stars enjoyed impressive results to improve their qualification bids.

Twelfth-placed Pablo Llamas Ruiz and 13th-placed Luca Nardi both won ATP Challenger Tour events in July and August, respectively. Shang Juncheng, 16th, won a tour-level match in Atlanta before advancing to the third round in Washington, where he defeated Shelton.

Czech Jakub Mensik, 14th, reached the third round at a major for the first time at the US Open. spoke to Mensik’s coach, Tomas Josefus, at the hard-court major.

“Jakub is an aggressive baseliner for sure. His game style is really aggressive and is trying to put pressure on his opponent with taking time away. That's probably the signature of Jakub's game,” Josefus said when describing Mensik's game. “He has a big serve and big return. In today's tennis, and in today's game, zero to four-shot rallies, especially here on hard courts in the U.S. are a minimum 60, maybe sometimes 70 per cent of all points. So definitely a big serve and big return is a big strength of Jakub's game.”