Shelbayh Reaches Semis At Rafa Nadal Open

Abedallah Shelbayh (photo: Alvaro Diaz)

MALLORCA/STARNBERG, September 3, 2022

The impressive run of Abedallah Shelbayh in his debut on the ATP Challenger Tour continues, as the Jordanian teenager has reached the semi-finals of the €45,730 Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s International Realty.

The 18-year-old wild card entry rallied past Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday evening at the Rafa Nadal Academy. Shelbayh withstood six aces and broke his rival five times to seal victory in one hour and 57 minutes.

“I am super happy and I just want to thank my coaches around here for the continuous support all the year. I just go match by match and I hope that I can keep this going,” said the Amman native, 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.

The World No. 654, a two-time champion on the ITF World Tennis Tour, will next take on fourth favourite Zizou Bergs from Belgium, who defeated Briton Jay Clarke 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes.

In the bottom half of the draw, Luca Nardi battled past Polish wild card entry Jerzy Janowicz 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. The No. 7 seed from Italy capitalized on five of his 12 break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 47 minutes. Nardi will next play Bulgarian qualifier Alexandar Lazarov, who also had to go the distance to outlast Kazakh veteran Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3). The longest match of the day lasted three hours and 23 minutes.