Carballes Baena With Houdini Escape To Reach Madrid Challenger Quarterfinals

Roberto Carballes Baena (photo: Florian Heer)

MADRID, April 14, 2022

World No. 78 Roberto Carballes Baena found himself on the brink of defeat to Pavel Kotov in the second round of the I Open Comunidad de Madrid, but somehow managed to come through it. The top seed of the €45,730 ATP Challenger clay-court event needed to save three match points to seal his first match win over the Russian in the pair’s first meeting.

On a sunny Thursday morning at the Club Campo Villa de Madrid, Kotov took advantage of an unusually unconcentrated display from Carballes Baena to ease through the first set and then led with a double break in the second set. With the support of about 400 spectators on Pista Central, the 29-year-old Spaniard, saved match points, won the tie-break and pushed the match the distance. In the final set, Carballes Baena got back to his best clay-court tennis and prevailed after two hours and 37 minutes.

“It was really tough. The match was already almost lost but I was able to fight back,” Carballes Baena said afterwards. “It will give me confidence but now I will have some rest to get ready for the next match.”

The Tenerife native, who is seeking his ninth ATP Challenger career crown this week and first of the season, takes on Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the quarterfinals. The No. 6 seed outlasted Spanish qualifier Oriol Roca Batalla 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes.

In other action, Marco Trungelliti eased past Italian qualifier Raul Brancaccio 6-2, 6-3. The 32-year-old Argentine converted all of his four break-point chances to advance after one hour and six minutes. Trungelliti will next play Christopher O’Connell. The World No. 150 from Australia defeated Ukrainian qualifier Oleksii Krutykh 6-1, 7-5. The encounter lasted one hour and 10 minutes.