Miomir Kecmanovic isn’t unfamiliar with playing in packed stadiums this year. The 20-year-old Serbian defeated Alexander Zverev at the Western & Southern Open for his first Top 10 win and battled Milos Raonic in his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final at the BNP Paribas Open.
But he’s taken a particular liking to the Allianz Cloud during the Next Gen ATP Finals. Kecmanovic has earned plenty of new fans this week with his aggressive baseline play, which has helped carry him into the semi-finals. He faces Italian Jannik Sinner on Friday for a place in the championship match and is eager to extend his time in Milan.
”It’s definitely nice to have that [crowd support],” Kecmanovic said. “I’m happy that they enjoy what we are doing on the court. It’s definitely given me a lot of more energy and motivation to push through. I’m happy to still be here.”
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Kecmanovic earned his spot in Milan after a breakout season in which he jumped more than 70 spots in the ATP Rankings to his current standing of No. 60. In addition to his Masters 1000 success, he reached his maiden ATP Tour final at the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya (l. to Sonego) and competed in the main draw of all four Grand Slams for the first time, winning a round at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Although this is his first year as a regular staple on the ATP Tour, Kecmanovic has already shown his ability to stay calm in critical moments. He’s 17th on Tour in break points saved this season, according to Infosys ATP Scores & Stats, having saved more than 64 per cent (157/244) of them. That’s better than all of his peers in Milan this week and even surpasses Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers Stefanos Tsitsipas (last year’s Milan champion) and Daniil Medvedev, who competed at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017.
”My consistency has helped,” Kecmanovic said. “[I’ve been] consistent at a certain level, tough in the pressure moments and I think that’s what got me here.”
Kecmanovic will face another pressure moment when he takes on Sinner in the semi-finals. The Serbian has had the crowds on his side this week, but he said it’s understandable that they’ll want to see a local player take the title. He’s optimistic that his mental toughness will carry him through their prime-time showdown.
”I definitely expect them to be for Jannik,” Kecmanovic said. “[But] I have had some experience with it. I don’t think it will affect me. I’ll just try to focus on my thing and hopefully it will work.”