Kuzuhara Battles His Way Into Santos Brasil Tennis Cup Quarterfinals

Bruno Kuzuhara (photo: Divulgação)


Bruno Kuzuhara isn’t as US-American as the flag next to his name on the scoreboard at the Santos Brasil Tennis Cup would suggest. In fact, he was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where a good part of his family still resides. As the son of Japanese descendants, he moved to Florida as a baby, where he grew up, studied, and learned to play tennis.

At 18, he became the junior singles and doubles champion at the Australian Open, and despite playing for the United States, he feels at home here.

“I’m definitely at home here. My uncle came from Sao Paulo to cheer, and I had more people on my side. I hope to advance to the semifinals and finals so that the whole family can come to support,” said Kuzuhara in perfect Portuguese.

World No. 469 Kuzuhara defeated last week’s Brasil Tennis Open champion Ergi Kirkin of Turkey to reach the quarterfinals of the ATP Challenger Tour clay-court event in Santos. The 20-year-old won the first set 6-3 but lost the second 6-4. In the third set, Kirkin took a 5-3 lead but couldn’t maintain the pace. In scorching 34-degree heat, Kuzuhara turned the tables and won 7-5 after three hours and five minutes.

“It was a rematch of our match in Porto Alegre last week. A tough match, but with the support of my uncle and the crowd, I got the victory today,” said Kuzuhara.

Next up for the former Junior World No. 1 will be fourth-seeded Hady Habib. The 25-year-old Lebanese defeated Uruguayan qualifier Franco Rncadelli 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 35 minutes.

Adolfo Daniel Vallejo also reached the stage of the last eight at the Santos Tennis Club. The 20-year-old from Paraguay received a walkover from Peruvian Gonzalo Bueno. Vallejo awaits the winner of the all-Argentine encounter between No. 3 seed Renzo Olivo and qualifier Alejo Lorenzo Lingua.