Jiri Lehecka advanced to the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Thursday when he dispatched Italian Matteo Arnaldi 4-3(5), 4-1, 4-3(4) in Milan.

The 21-year-old was locked in throughout the 77-minute clash at the Allianz Cloud, hitting with explosive power and consistency on his forehand. The Czech pinned Arnaldi behind the baseline, outlasting the Italian in the longer exchanges to triumph.

“I am super happy that I won today,” Lehecka said. “Matteo has been playing incredibly this week. He has the level to play here, so it was a very good win for me today. When I came here, my goal was to qualify for the semi-finals and then anything can happen. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Lehecka was aggressive throughout, hitting 27 per cent of his shots in attack, well above the Tour average of 23 per cent.

Lehecka ends Green Group holding a 2-1 record, having defeated Francesco Passaro and lost to Brandon Nakashima earlier this week. The Czech is the second player to qualify for the semi-finals, joining Red Group winner Dominic Stricker, who qualified following his victory against Lorenzo Musetti.

Nakashima will face Passaro later on Thursday, with both players still alive at the 21-and-under event. The American Nakashima holds a 2-0 record in the Red Group, while Italian Passaro enters the match at 1-1.

Lehecka is making his debut in Milan this year after enjoying a breakthrough season. The World No. 74 enjoyed a run to the semi-finals as a qualifier in Rotterdam in February before he clinched his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title on home soil in August.


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