It’s official: Juan Manuel Cerúndlo classified to the Next Gen Finals

It's official: Juan Manuel Cerúndlo classified to the Next Gen Finals

After a spectacular 2021, the youthful Argentine tennis player Juan Manuel Cerúndolo (85th) took advantage of the abandonment of Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime (11th) and secured their participation in the Next Gen Finals, a tournament that annually brings together the best eight U21 players of the season.

The wait was worth it for the youngest of the brothers Cerúndolo, because the official account of the competition finally announced its presence at the event on Monday, which will be held in Milan, Italy, and will be the first South American player in history to participate.

Despite starting the year in 341st place in the world rankings, the 19-year-old left-hander made the most of the invitation received in February from the organization of the ATP 250 of Córdoba, Argentina, where he passed the qualifying stage, entered the main draw, debuted at the highest level and champion was proclaimed, by defeating the experienced Spaniard Albert Ramos-Viñolas in the decisive match. In addition, thanks to his consecration, he broke surprising records (he became the fifth worst-placed player to lift a trophy, the first from qualy to debut his record since 2004 and the most adolescent from Albiceleste to celebrate since 2001) and rose to rank 181.

In the following months he would not be able to assert himself on the main circuit, because he would say goodbye quickly in Buenos Aires, in Gstaad and Santiago, and in the previous sentences of Kitzbuhel, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. However, it would stand as one of the main animators of the Challenger circuit, a category in which he would raise his first cup at the beginning of May, when he beat local Flavio Cobolli and was crowned in Rome II. Then, he would access four more finals, registering two celebrations (Como and Banja-Luka) and two falls (Meerbusch and Lima II) and three semifinals, totaling 37 celebrations and 15 falls in the accumulated.

In this way, Cerúndlo will be the first South American in the history of the Next Gen Finals, a competition that has been held since 2017, although it was not played in 2020 due to the global pandemic: 15 Europeans (Rublev in 2017 and 2018), four North Americans (Tiafoe in 2018 and 2019), one oceanic (De Miñaur in 2018 and 2019) and an Asian had been the privileged ones so far.

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