Alcaraz Wins ‘Battle Of The Teens’ To Reach His First Challenger Final In Trieste

Carlos Alcaraz

TRIESTE, August 29, 2020

World No. 310 Carlos Alcaraz, who battled through the qualifying at the €88,520 Citta di Trieste, has advanced to his first career final on the ATP Challenger Tour. In front of about 350 spectators at the Tennis Club Triestino, the 17-year-old from Spain emerged victorious from the battle of the teenagers, beating 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

Both players were solid from the baseline. Musetti was the better server, but Alcaraz was quick on his feed and showed some great defensive skills.

The Italian overcame a bumpy start into the match when he saved two sets points in the 10th game of the first set but lost his serve in the following by overpowering some baseline shots. Alcaraz clinched the opener after 55 minutes.

Musetti started to read the Spaniard’s game better in the second set and broke serve in the fourth game. The World No. 280 from Carrara didn’t look back and pushed the match the distance after one hour and 28 minutes.

Musetti also capitalized on his first break point chance in the third set to take a 3-1 lead and atmosphere on a packed Campo Central „Claudio Giorgi“ heated up. Alcaraz, however, wasn’t done yet. The Murcia native broke back and the momentum shifted again.

Alcaraz began to annoy his opponent more and more with fantastic drop shots to eventually gain the decisive break in the seventh game. A double fault from Musetti after two hours and 13 minutes sent the protege of former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero into the title match.

“It was a very tough match against a great young player. A good level of tennis helped me to reach my first Challenger final,” Alcaraz told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. Both youngsters have only met for the second time following the 2018 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals.“There is only one year between us but we don’t know each other that good. We played some tournaments on the Juniors Tour together and we had the chance to practice here one day.”

Reaching the final at the clay-court event in Trieste, has been the biggest success for Alcaraz in his young career. “Playing the title match here means a lot to me. I felt good here right from the beginning of the tournament and I am very happy with my performance throughout the week.”

Bonadio seeking maiden Challenger trophy

Alcaraz will face in-form Italian qualifier Riccardo Bonadio on Sunday morning. The World No. 408 from Azzano Decimo defeated Mario Vilello Martinez from Spain 7-6(5), 6-2 earlier in the day. The encounter lasted one hour and 45 minutes. Alcaraz and Bonadio, who will also appear in his first Challenger championship match, will meet for the first time.

“I only watched a bit of his semi-final when he played Mario, who is one of my practice partners at the Academy in Spain,” the Next-Gen star said of his upcoming opponent.

If Alcaraz wins the title, he will become the fourth-youngest Challenger champion in the last decade at the age of 17 years and three months, behind only Felix Auger-Aliassime (Lyon and Sevilla 2017) Alexander Zverev (Braunschweig 2014). He would be two days younger than Nicola Kuhn, who lifted the trophy in Braunschweig three years ago.

Behar/Golubev crowned doubles champions

In other action, Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Andrey Golubev from Kazakhstan claimed back-to-back doubles titles. The champions of last week in Todi, won the final in Trieste following a 6-4, 6-2 victory over the all-French duo of Hugo Gaston and Tristan Lamasine. The encounter lasted one hour and 21 minutes.