Shelbayh Shines At Rafa Nadal Open Challenger

Abedallah Shelbayh (photo: Alvaro Diaz)

MALLORCA/STARNBERG, September 1, 2022

Abedallah Shelbayh has become the first player from Jordan to reach a quarterfinal on the ATP Challenger Tour. Following his triumph over top seed Dominic Stricker from Switzerland in his opening match, the 18-year-old wild card entry defeated Spanish qualifier Adrian Menendez Maceiras 6-1, 6-4 in the second round of the €45,730 Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s International Realty on Thursday.

Left-handed Shelbayh was rock solid on his serve, as he struck nine aces and won 74 per cent of first-service points. The World No. 654, who moved to Manacor to practice at the Rafa Nadal Academy at the age of 14 and finished runner-up in the 2021 Wimbledon Junior Boys’ doubles final alongside Daniel Rincon, saved all three break points he faced and capitalized on four of his own eight break-point opportunities to secure victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

The Amman native, a two time champion on the ITF World Tennis Tour, will next challenge Dmitry Popko from Kazakhstan, who fought past Swiss alternate Leandro Riedi 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 24 minutes.

In other action, No. 4 seed Zizou Bergs of Belgium defeated Frenchman Evan Furness 6-3, 7-6(8) in one hour and 54 minutes and will next take on Briton Jay Clarke.

In the bottom half of the draw, Kazakh veteran Mikhail Kukushkin will play Bulgarian qualifier Alexandar Lazarov in the stage of the final eight. Wild card entry Jerzy Janowicz from Poland will take on Italian teenager and seventh seed Luca Nardi.