JEDDAH: Jordan’s Abdullah Shelbayh captured the headlines on day two of the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM with a victory against Alex Michelsen in front of a supportive crowd in Jeddah.
The top seed Arthur Fils and Hamad Medjedovic remain unbeaten to hold the lead position in the green and red groups, while Dominic Stricker righted his loss yesterday with a dominant performance.
Shelbayh thrilled the crowd at King Abdullah Sports City with his shot making, showcasing his immense potential on Wednesday night. The 20-year-old downed Michelsen 4-2, 1-4, 4-0, 4-0 to pick up his fourth Top 100 win.
After the match, he said: “Having the opportunity to play here now to finish the year, I couldn’t ask for a better end to the year.
“I appreciate all the support throughout the week that I’ve been receiving already, of course throughout the year, and from the Arab world especially.”
Dominic Stricker soared to victory in the fastest match in tournament history. After a disappointing start to his Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM campaign, Stricker wasted little time bouncing back on Wednesday in Jeddah. The third-seeded Swiss player eased past Italian Luca Nardi 4-1, 4-1, 4-2 with a clean-hitting performance in only 54 minutes.
In an on-court interview, Stricker said: “We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today. I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe wasn’t my best performance.
“Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I’m just happy that I did it and now I’m going to try my best to recover for the third group match.”
Frenchman Fils continued to demonstrate his top-seed credentials when he overcame Flavio Cobolli 4-1, 4-2, 4-2 in 59 minutes. He came out firing in his first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with the Italian, out-maneuvering Cobolli to improve to 2-0 in Green Group play.
Fils said: “I played very nice today. I served very good, and I was moving well on the court, so I am very happy about it. Tomorrow, I have a good match against a great opponent. He already beat me once this year, so let’s what I can do.”
In the final match of the day, Medjedovic overcame the Red Group top seed Luca Van Assche in four sets, 4-2, 2-4, 4-3, 4-1. The Serbian will now face fan favorite Shelbayh in the final match of the group stage.