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11

Apr

2019

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

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.

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: