Brandon Nakashima passed his Italian test with flying colours on Thursday, defeating Franceso Passaro 4-3(4), 4-2, 4-1 to reach the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

The American won his opening two Green Group matches in Milan, but knew a straight-sets defeat against Passaro would see him bundled out of the tournament at the expense of the 21-year-old.

However, as he has done throughout the season, Nakashima produced a resilient performance, overcoming Passaro and the crowd at the Allianz Cloud to secure victory after 61 minutes.

“I know he has had a great year this year. I thought my level was really high today,” Nakashima said. “It was nice to see it carrying over from yesterday. To come out and play like that was super special.”

The 21-year-old’s win means he tops Green Group and will face either Lorenzo Musetti or Jack Draper in the semi-finals on Friday. Runner-up Jiri Lehecka will face Red Group winner Dominic Stricker. In an impressive performance, Nakashima blasted 17 winners and saved the one break point he faced to finish the round-robin stage with a 3-0 record.

Nakashima has now earned 33 tour-level wins this season. The World No. 49, who advanced to the semi-finals on debut in Milan last year, lifted his first tour-level trophy in San Diego in September.

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