SANTANDER, August 25, 2022
There are many fine spots in the world where international tennis tournaments are held. One of them for sure, is the Real Sociedad de Tenis de la Magdalena in Santander, Northern Spain. Founded by king Alfonso XIII and a group of noblemen in April 1906, it is one of the oldest country clubs in the country.
The club is located in the Magdalena Peninsula with a fantastic view onto the Cantabrian Sea and the city’s beautiful long sandy beaches. It has over 8,000 members, having sports sections of tennis, hockey, roller hockey, swimming, bowling, and canoeing. In 2000, the club organized the Davis Cup semi-final between Spain and the United States in which the host country won.
A sight for sore eyes…
In July 2000, Spain hosted USA in the #DavisCup semi-finals at this incredible stadium in Santander, Cantabria! 😍
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) July 27, 2020
This week the 73º Torneo Internacional RST La Magdalena, an ITF World Tennis Tour M25 clay-court event, is being held here. Although only members of the club are allowed to attend the tournament, Tennis TourTalk has gained access to the venue to cover the event.
“Members only” they told me at the entrance of the Real Sociedad de Tenis de La Magdalena in Santander 🇪🇸
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) August 25, 2022
Top seed Oscar Jose Gutierrez booked his spot in the semi-finals with a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Spanish teenager and seventh favourite Pablo Llamas Ruiz on a cloudy Thursday in Santander. The World No. 371 withstood four aces and broke his 19-year-old rival three times to secure victory in one hour and 28 minutes.
“I had a long match yesterday, lasting more than three hours. I was a bit tired today but I was hitting my shots better,” Gutierrez told Tennis TourTalk after his quarterfinal match. “The first set was perfect on my own serve. At the beginning of the first game of the second set, I lost my serve and he started to play better. I did a couple of errors. He went up 5-1 and I already thought about the third set but then I played without any pressure and things worked out well. I played well in the tie-break and I am happy with the result.”
Santander was a successful place for the 29-year-old in the past, as Gutierrez captured the singles title here in 2019 and lifted the doubles trophy alongside his compatriot Gabriel Roveri Sidney last year.
“I have already played three times here. It is a special place for me. I love the city and the club. The atmosphere is amazing. My favourite place is the castle (Palacio de la Magdalena). You have an amazing view of the ocean. There are also a lot of very good restaurants,” the five-time singles champion on the ITF Pro Circuit said.
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“My goal is to compete in the qualifying of the Grand Slams. Futures are tough. You have to play many tournaments to do that. The last couple of months, I was playing more Challengers and I did well but lost some close matches. I came here because of the place. I live in Barcelona and that’s close to my home. But for the rest of the season, I will try to play more Challengers.”
Up next for Gutierrez will be 19-year-old Alejandro Manzanera Pertusa of Spain, who beat his fellow countryman Max Alcala Gurri 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 36 minutes.
Cervantes Huegun into the semis
In other quarterfinal action, former World No. 56 Inigo Cervantes Huegun, who had to cope with a lot of injuries in recent years and dropped to World No. 1058 in the ATP Rankings, continued his fine run of form this week by knocking out No. 2 seed and fellow Spaniard Carlos Sanchez Jover 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 20 minutes.
Cervantes Huegun battled his way from the qualifying to the stage of the final four and is seeking his first singles title since his triumph at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals 2015. The 32-year-old Basque will next take Frenchman Titouan Droguet. The fifth seed edged out fourth favourite Alvaro Lopez San Martin of Spain 6-4, 6-4. The encounter lasted one hour and 21 minutes.