TennisSection previews the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals as Brandon Nakashima takes on Jiri Lehecka in the final on Saturday, November 12th, 2022.
And then there were two. The final of the Next Gen ATP Finals will feature the 49th-ranked Brandon Nakashima taking on 74th-ranked Jiri Lehecka. Who will inscribe their name on the winner’s list in 2022? Let us take a closer look at our match preview and prediction in detail.
When the draw of the Next Gen ATP Finals came out, Brandon Nakashima was widely seen as a dark horse. A player that could perhaps benefit from a few opportune moments and make it count. While that part of the narrative is true (with the withdrawal of Holger Rune and eliminations of Musetti and Jack Draper), Nakashima has played the better tennis of any player this week. And the American kept his unbeaten streak intact with a four-set dismissal of Draper in the semifinal. Nakashima fell at this stage last season, but will be keen to atone for his failure and win the title when he battles Jiri Lehecka.
Jiri Lehecka, for his part, defied the odds to knock out in-form Dominic Stricker in a dominant four-set victory. Lehecka, truth be told, is a surprise name in the final of the Next Gen ATP Finals. The Czech posted a great result on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam at the start of the season, but was in dismal form coming to Milan. His experience of Tour-level competition has clearly aided his course against his peers and will now look to conquer Brandon Nakashima at the second attempt.
Brandon Nakashima leads Jiri Lehecka 1-0 in their head-to-head meetings. Incidentally, these two players contested a Round Robin match at the Next Gen ATP Finals just a few days ago, with Nakashima winning in straight sets. Both players play a high-intensity baseline game with very little room to engage in longer rallies. Nakashima won the baseline battle earlier during the week, using his powerful forehand to dictate proceedings. Lehecka is equally aggressive and has a very natural all-court game. He can step in inside the baseline and take the ball early. But where the American holds the edge is his ability to narrow down the court and play some unreturnable shots. I think this match is on Nakashima’s racket. He is the higher-ranked player and has not looked remotely close to losing. He should lay his lands on the title on Saturday.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Brandon Nakashima in 4 Sets.
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