Alvarez Varona Into First Challenger Quarterfinal At Emilio Sanchez Academy

Nicolas Alvarez Varona (photo: Emilio Sanchez Academy)


Spanish youngster Nicolas Alvarez Varona has reached his first quarterfinal on the ATP Challenger Tour. The 20-year-old defeated Filip Horansky from Slovakia 6-4, 6-3 in Thursday’s second-round matches at the €44,820 Emilio Sanchez Academy clay-court event in El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

World No. 441 Alvarez Varona, who was crowned 2013 Under-12 Kids Cup champion at this venue and also captured the Under-14 trophy at the Emilio Sanchez Academy two years later, capitalized on his home advantage and broke his opponent’s serve four times to secure victory in one hour and 24 minutes.

The Burgos native, a winner of two ITF World Tennis Tour titles, battled through qualifying and will next take on the tournament’s top seed Hugo Gaston. The World No. 112 from France cruised past Ukrainian lucky loser Oleksii Krutykh 6-0, 6-2 in only 49 minutes.

Alvarez Varona will be joined in the stage of the final eight by fellow Spaniard Nicola Kuhn. The 21-year-old knocked off No. 5 seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 7-5, 6-2 on Wednesday and enjoyed a special practice session with his schoolmate Marcel Sudzum from the Netherlands, a member of the Emilio Sanchez Academy, the following day.

At the age of five, the two of them went to the same school in Torrevieja, Alicante. Sixteen years later, Kuhn and Sudzum were reunited on the court.

In other action, Teymuraz Gabashvili defeated Nuno Borges from Portugal 7-6(6), 7-5 in one hour and 41 minutes. The 36-year-old Russian, an Emilio Sanchez Academy alumni, won 53 per cent of the total points played and will next take on Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria.

“When I came here I for the first time I was 14 years old,” Gabashvili said. “I came here with a group of Russian guys. Two years later I moved here and started to train with Emilio and Sergio (Casal). It’s funny, as a long career started here and this is will be one of my last tournaments.”

In the remaining quarterfinal match, Frenchman Alexandre Muller will play his compatriot and qualifier Matteo Martineau.