Alcaraz Begins Gran Canaria Challenger Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz (photo: Marta Magni/MEF Tennis Events)

GRAN CANARIA, March 2, 2021

Spanish teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz opened his title bid at the Gran Canaria Challenger II with a hard-fought three-set victory over 19-year-old Romanian qualifier Filip Cristian Jianu. The World No. 131 from Murcia won 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-1 at the El Cortijo Tennis Academy in Telde on Tuesday.

Alcaraz was awarded a wild card into the €44,820 clay-court event and arrived at the Canary Island following a first-round loss in the qualifying of the Open Sud de France ATP 250 indoor tournament in Montpellier. The 17-year-old capitalized on four of his nine break-point chances to prevail after just under two hours of play.

“It was a complicated debut. My opponent has been here for over a week, while I hadn’t played on clay this year. After all, I can be satisfied with my performance. I was unable to win in two sets, but I still achieved the goal of overcoming the first round,” Alcaraz said.

For the first time in his career, the #NextGen ATP star is the top seed of an ATP Challenger event. “I try not to focus on the draw and to concentrate on my tennis. I am aware that I have to improve a lot to reach the top of the world. It’s all about thinking about match by match.

“It is a privilege to play this and many of the best tournaments in the world. It is a dream to be able to compare myself with the strongest tennis players on the planet. I will try to make the most of the opportunities, starting this week in Gran Canaria.”

Up next for Alcaraz will be either compatriot Adrian Menendez Maceiras or Marco Trungelliti of Argentina.

In other action, No. 3 Nikola Milojevic defeated Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 20 to meet qualifier Eduard Esteve Lobato in the Round of 16. The World No. 390 from Spain beat fellow countryman Guillermo Garcia Lopez 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and 55 minutes.

Last week’s Gran Canaria Challenger I finalists also booked their spot in the second round. Sunday’s champion Enzo Couacaud continued his unbeaten run with a 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-1 over No. 5 seed Lorenzo Giustino of Italy. The World No. 187 from France will next play Slovakian Alex Molcan, who fought past Roberto Ortega-Olmedo of Spain 6-3, 7-6(4).

Steven Diez, last week’s runner-up, remained untroubled in his first-round match beating Spanish youngster Nicola Kuhn in straight sets. The 29-year-old Canadian won 59 per cent of the total points played to seal a 6-2, 6-2 victory in one hour and 32 minutes. Diez will next face No. 8 Kimmer Coppejans from Belgium.

Gran Canaria Challenger II – Tuesday Results

Main Draw – First Round

Steven Diez b. Nicola Kuhn 6-2 6-2
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia b. Filip Cristian Jianu 6-3 6-7(3) 6-1
Nikola Milojevic b. Tommy Robredo 6-2 6-3
Enzo Couacaud b. Lorenzo Giustino 7-6(2) 5-7 6-1
Alessandro Giannessi b. Emilio Nava 6-2 6-3
Carlos Gimeno Valero b. Constant Lestienne 6-4 3-1 ret.
Alex Molcan b. Roberto Ortega-Olmedo 6-3 7-6(4)
Giulio Zeppieri b. Manuel Guinard 6-0 6-3