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The Next Rafa? 15-Year-Old Spaniard Enters History Books In Murcia

  • Posted: Apr 10, 2019

The Next Rafa? 15-Year-Old Spaniard Enters History Books In Murcia

Carlos Alcaraz Garfia advances to the third round at Murcia Challenger

When Rafael Nadal was 15 years old, he made his first splash as a professional. It was 29 April 2002 and the future No. 1 would introduce himself with a straight-set win over World No. 81 Ramon Delgado in Mallorca. His first victory over a Top 200 player proved to be a significant moment.

Flash forward to 2019 and another 15-year-old Spaniard is making a splash in the initial stages of his professional journey. On Wednesday, Carlos Alcaraz Garfia crashed onto the scene with the first Top 200 win of his own, defeating countryman and World No. 140 Pedro Martinez 6-3, 7-6(4) at the Murcia Open.

Demonstrating great poise, agility and court instincts, Alcaraz exhibited his potential at the inaugural ATP Challenger Tour event. The teen’s skills were on full display in front of a packed crowd at the Murcia Club de Tenis, as he rallied from a break down in the second set to eventually prevail after one hour and 47 minutes.

Competing in the first ATP Challenger Tour events of his young career, Alcaraz became the first player born in 2003 to win a match last week in nearby Alicante. And this week, he is already into the third round in Murcia with two more victories.

Alcaraz puts himself in strong company with his win over Martinez on Wednesday. He is not only the first player aged 15 & under to upset a Top 200 opponent since Ryan Harrison in 2008 (ATP Houston), but he is just the fifth 15-year-old to do so in the past 20 years. The others? Nadal, Richard Gasquet and Bernard Tomic. In fact, Nadal was just nine days younger when he achieved the feat in Mallorca.

Youngest To Defeat A Top 200 Player (since 2000)

Player Age Opponent Tournament
Bernard Tomic
15 years, 2 months No. 147 Jimmy Wang 2008 Australian Open qualifying
Richard Gasquet 15 years, 9 months No. 54 Franco Squillari 2002 Monte-Carlo
Rafael Nadal 15 years, 10 months No. 81 Ramon Delgado 2002 Mallorca
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia
15 years, 11 months, 5 days No. 140 Pedro Martinez 2019 Murcia Challenger
Ryan Harrison 15 years, 11 months, 7 days No. 95 Pablo Cuevas 2008 Houston

Alcaraz will look to win his third match in three days when he faces fellow teen Rudolf Molleker on Thursday. A spot in the quarter-finals is at stake. And if you’re looking ahead to the weekend, the only player younger than the Spaniard to win a Challenger title was Michael Chang at 15 years, seven months in Las Vegas in 1987. History awaits.

Watch free live stream of Alcaraz’s match on Thursday:

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Kyle Edmund beaten by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech

  • Posted: Apr 10, 2019

British number one Kyle Edmund is out of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in the last 16.

The third seed was beaten 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in one hour 29 minutes.

The early exit comes a year after Edmund reached the final of the clay court event, his maiden ATP final.

Tsonga has a career-high ranking of fifth in the world but is now ranked 116th, 94 places below Edmund, as he recovers from knee surgery.

The Frenchman will play Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego in the quarter-final.

In the men’s doubles, Britain’s Dom Inglot and partner Rohan Bopanna beat Roman Jebavy and Andres Molteni 0-6 6-3 10-8.

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Tsonga Battles Past Edmund Into Marrakech QF

  • Posted: Apr 10, 2019

Tsonga Battles Past Edmund Into Marrakech QF

Former champion Simon reaches quarter-finals for a sixth time

Wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga booked his place in the Grand Prix Hassan II quarter-finals on Wednesday by beating third seed and 2018 runner-up Kyle Edmund 7-6(6), 6-3 in 90 minutes.

Tsonga saved one break point at 2-2 in the 52-minute first set, which saw Edmund win 89 per cent of his first-service points, and in the tie-break at 5/4 Tsonga ripped a forehand winner down the line for two set point opportunities. Edmund recovered to 6/6, but Tsonga then fired down an ace and was then gifted the set when Edmund mis-timed a forehand long.

Tsonga continued to apply the pressure, and Edmund withstood two break points at 1-1 in the second set, before overhitting a forehand to hand Tsonga a 3-2 advantage. Tsonga broke serve for a second time, finishing the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with a backhand volley winner.

“It’s always great to beat a Top 20 player and very motivating. I will have a day off tomorrow and hope to continue playing well,” Tsonga said.

This year’s Open Sud de France champion will now prepare to face Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego, who advanced to his second ATP Tour quarter-final — and first since April 2018 in Budapest (l. to Bedene) — with a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Robin Haase of the Netherlands in one hour and 40 minutes.

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Fourth seed Gilles Simon, who lifted the trophy as a qualifier in 2008 (d. Benneteau), moved into the quarter-finals for the sixth time with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Guido Andreozzi of Argentina in 77 minutes. He will next play Japan’s Taro Daniel, who fought his way past Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, a Spanish qualifier, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 in one hour and 45 minutes.

“I was positively surprised with how well I played today,” said Simon. “Lately, I have played very well in practice, but not during the matches. Today, I was happy with how I played. I’m happy with my level during those first two matches on clay and I’m feeling well here in Marrakech.”

Bopanna/Inglot Advance To Doubles Semi-Finals
Second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Dominic Inglot won just 11 points in the first set, but recovered to beat Roman Jebavy and Andres Molteni 0-6, 6-3, 10-8 in 65 minutes for a place in the doubles semi-finals. Inglot partnered Mate Pavic to the 2017 title (d. Granollers/M. Lopez).

Elsewhere, Leander Paes and Benoit Paire knocked out fourth seeds Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald 7-5, 3-6, 12-10 in one hour and 43 minutes.

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Fed Cup: Great Britain name unchanged team for World Group II play-off

  • Posted: Apr 10, 2019

Great Britain have named an unchanged team for their Fed Cup World Group II play-off against Kazakhstan, which begins on 20 April.

British number one Johanna Konta is joined by Katie Boulter, Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan.

The British team won all 10 of their rubbers in February’s group stages to reach the play-offs.

If they beat Kazakhstan in London, they will return to World Group II for the first time since 1993.

  • The greatest comeback? Winning from 0-6, 0-5 and match point down

The tie will take place from 20-21 April at the Copper Box Arena.

“There is little to separate the two teams in terms of rankings, but I’m confident the home fans will give all our players an inspirational lift,” GB captain Anne Keothavong said.

“It’s important to our team to open up our sport to new fans and increase awareness of tennis at different times of the year.”

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Querrey Eyeing Another Houston Final

  • Posted: Apr 10, 2019

Querrey Eyeing Another Houston Final

American looking to reach first title match this week since February 2018

Two-time finalist Sam Querrey turned in a dominating serve performance on Tuesday to advance at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston.

The 31-year-old American won 90 per cent of his first-serve points and beat compatriot Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round of the ATP 250 event.

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Querrey, who reached the final in 2010 (l. to Chela) and 2015 (l. to Sock), will next face Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 winner against American wild card Noah Rubin.

Serbian wild card Janko Tipsarevic won his second tour-level match since August 2017, beating 2018 finalist Tennys Sandgren 6-1, 7-6(4). Sandgren, who won his maiden title at the ASB Classic in Auckland in January, led 5-2 in the second set before the former World No. 8 came back.

Tipsarevic, 34, is on the comeback from his latest injury, torn hamstring tendons, which forced him to miss all of the 2018 season. The 27-year-old Sandgren has lost seven consecutive matches since beating Brit Cameron Norrie for the Auckland title.

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Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan, 22, picked up his second ATP Tour win to set up a second-round showdown with top seed and two-time defending champion Steve Johnson of the U.S. Galan held off Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi 7-6(5), 6-4. The Colombian celebrated his maiden ATP win four years ago in Bogota against Spain’s Pere Riba.

Seventh seed Jordan Thompson of Australia dismissed Serbian qualifier Pedja Krstin 7-5, 6-2, and Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen knocked out sixth seed Mackenzie McDonald of the U.S. 6-3, 6-4.

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