Despite the loss of massive superstars in Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals on Friday, the results at Shanghai Masters were hailed as they 'GenNext' finally stepped up and showed their mettle collectively.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, German Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini of Italy reached the semi-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event to complete the youngest semi-final line-up for a tournament of this level in 12 years.
Medvedev and Berrettini are both 23 years old while Zverev is 22 and Tsitsipas 21 and that makes it the youngest semi-final line-up since Indian Wells 2007.
At the Indian Wells in 2007, the semi-finalists were Novak Djokovic (19), Andy Murray (19), Rafael Nadal (20) and Andy Roddick (24).
Also since 1999, this is the first time that all semi-finalists in a Masters 1000 tournament are 23 or younger. The last time this happened was at the Hamburg Open.
At the Hamburg Open 1999, the semi-finalists were Mariano Zabaleta (21), Carlos Moya (22), Nicolás Lapentti (22) and Marcelo Rios (23).
Although it is yet to be seen if the younger generation can be consistent and if the change of guard can happen at the Grand Slam tournaments.
Medvedev, who has been in a scintillating form since the start of American hard court season, beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach the semi-final, where he will take on Tsitsipas, who sprung a massive surprise to beat defending champion and world No.1 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Zverev also overcame the big Federer challenge in a supremely balanced and headstrong performance as he won 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3. He will take on Berrettini, who put up a performance of sheer firepower as he beat Dominic Thiem 7-6(8), 6-4.
Here are the winners of the Masters 1000 events in 2019:
Indian Wells: Dominic Thiem
Miami: Roger Federer
Monte-Carlo: Fabio Fognini
Madrid: Novak Djokovic
Rome: Rafael Nadal
Montreal: Rafael Nadal
Cincinnati: Daniil Medvedev