De Jong Books Semi-Finals Berth At Guayaquil Challenger

STARNBERG, November 21, 2020

Jesper de Jong from the Netherlands continued his great run of form by reaching the semi-finals of the Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil COPA BANCO GUAYAQUIL presentado por CNT, which will be held until November 22 at the Anexo Guayaquil Tenis Club. The 20-year-old emerged victorious from the battle of the qualifiers with Spaniard Oriol Roca Batalla, 6-2, 6-2 on Friday afternoon.

De Jong, currently ranked World No. 349 and a winner of three ITF World Tour titles last year, sent down seven aces and won 76 per cent of his first-service points to earn his fifth match win this week in Ecuador. In his only third appearance on the ATP Challenger Tour, the Haarlem native has become the youngest player from the Netherlands to reach the stage of the final four since 2016.

“It was really hot today and I was struggling with my breath,” de Jong said after his match. “There were some tough rallies in tough conditions. Yesterday it was less sunny but I am happy to be through. It’s my first time in the semis and it feels pretty exciting, also the tour here in South America. I am enjoying it.”

De Jong, who is coached by former doubles World No. 1 Paul Haarhuis, mentioned that he often watches the matches of his upcoming opponents. “It helps to see what the other guys are doing and what weakness they have. Of course, you face different opponents and you have to reflect to your own game. I try to focus on my own game, then I will play my best.”

Up next for the de Jong will be No. 3 seed Andrej Martin. The 31-year-old from Slovakia defeated Sebastian Baez of Argentina 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes.

“I haven’t seen him before. He is quite high in the rankings, so it will be a good challenge,” the young Dutch commented on his upcoming encounter.

Carballes Baena advances

Later in the evening and under the lights on Court 10, No. 2 seed Roberto Carballes Baena edged past No. 5 seed Pedro Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-2. The World No. 103 from Spain capitalized on four of his five break-point chances to advance in one hour and 14 minutes.

“Conditions were different from yesterday. Today I played at night with better weather and I felt that my game was at optimal level. I stayed very focused from the beginning, that was important because my rival is a great player and if you give him opportunities, it will become very tough,” Carballes Baena said.

The Tenerife native will next play Francisco Cerundolo from Argentina, who rallied past No. 4 seeded Spaniard Jaume Munar 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 after two hours and 11 minutes.