Sousa Falls In Braga Open First Round

Joao Sousa (photo: Sebastião Guimarães)

BRAGA/STARNBERG, September 27, 2023

After the suspension of the match on the previous day, Joao Sousa could not find success upon returning to the Centre Court of the Clube de Tenis de Braga and was eliminated from the Braga Open in the first round. This result left Jaime Faria as the only Portuguese representative in the singles draw of the ATP Challenger Tour 75 tournament organized by the Portuguese Tennis Federation, with the support of the Municipality of Braga.

The 34-year-old from Guimaraes, currently ranked World No. 283, had a break advantage twice in the only set played on Wednesday but ended up defeated by Tunisian Moez Echargui 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Interrupted the previous day due to darkness, the match saw the best Portuguese tennis player in history start better in the third and deciding set, as had happened in the previous sets. However, Sousa’s advantages of 2-0 and 3-2 were not enough, and with a series of unforced errors on both occasions, he squandered the opportunity to celebrate his first professional victory on a stage where he had only competed as a junior.

“Today, despite the conditions being faster, I couldn’t be aggressive and dominate. I couldn’t play at the level of the past few weeks,” said Sousa during the press conference. “Yesterday I played very well until 6-2 and 2-0, but then I had some lapses in concentration, which made me play at a lower level. With the sunset, the conditions became very slow, with a lot of humidity, and that didn’t help me because he is a solid player who, despite doing little with the ball, doesn’t make mistakes.”

In case of victory, Sousa would have faced young compatriot Faria, who recorded the best victory of his career, eliminating World No. 123 and second seed Timofey Skatov from Kazakhstan 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 on Tuesday.

Wednesday’s matches were also marked by the farewell of the top seed Zsombor Piros from Hungary, who was forced to withdraw from his second-round match due to a right ankle injury. His compatriot Mate Valkusz benefited from the situation and advanced to the quarterfinals.