Martinez To Face Nakashima For Tenerife Challenger 1 Title

Pedro Martinez (photo: Daniele Combi/MEF Tennis Events)

GUIA DE ISORA, January 20, 2024

Pedro Martinez of Spain and US-American Brandon Nakashima both continued their good runs of form this week on the Canary Islands and will face each other in Sunday’s singles final of the Tenerife Challenger 1.

Martinez remained untroubled in his match against Spanish qualifier Javier Barranco Cosano, winning 6-1, 6-1 in the stage of the last four. On a sunny and warm Saturday with temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius at the Abama Tennis Academy in Guia de Isora, Martinez dominated the encounter right from the beginning. The No. 2 seed of the ATP Challenger Tour 100 event lost his serve only once and broke his rival six times to advance in one hour and 33 minutes.

“Despite the result, it was a tough match,” Martinez said. “I managed to win the tight games, and that allowed me to play calmly.” By reaching the championship match, the World No. 109 from Valencia virtually return to the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings.

“I finished last season very close to the Top 100, which is still my goal. We all want to be there. I think it’s normal to check the rankings from time to time. I’m very close, but the truth is that I want to climb much higher in the coming months.”

Nakashima notches win 

Later in the afternoon, Nakashima held off Denis Yevseyev, beating the Kazakh qualifier 7-6(6), 6-2. The fourth-seeded Californian fired 11 aces and won 69 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in one hour and 23 minutes.

“Winning the first set was crucial,” Nakashima explained afterwards. “There were very long rallies, and I was very close to losing it, so taking it with me gave me additional energy for the rest of the match.”

Many people filled the stands on Center Court, creating a great experience highlighted by the players: “It’s not just about tennis. The beautiful day today, along with the numerous fans who came to watch the matches, makes this experience even more enjoyable,” the 126th-ranked US-American stated about the atmosphere.

Nakashima and Martinez will meet for the first time. The 26-year-old Spaniard, who finished last season by lifting the Maspalomas Challenger crown in Tenerife’s neighbouring island Gran Canaria, is seeking his sixth ATP Challenger Tour career crown. Nakashima could lift his fourth Challenger career trophy.

“Finals are always tough, and tomorrow will be no exception. We are the two best players of this week. I have never faced Pedro, and I think it will be a good match,” Nakashima said.

Kirkov/Martinez triumph in doubles

The action-packed day in Tenerife started with Vasil Kirkov from the United States and Luis David Martinez of Venezula claiming the doubles title. The pair defeated the all-Polish combination of Karol Drzewiecki and Piotr Matuszewsk 6-3, 4-6, 10-3 in one hour and 12 minutes.

By winning the first team title, Kirkov and Martinez split €6,845 in prize money and pocketed 100 ATP Doubles Ranking points.