LAUKARIZ/MUNGIA, June 24, 2023
Portuguese teenager Henrique Rocha captured his second singles title on the Pro Circuit by winning the second edition of the Laukariz Open in northern Spain. The 19-year-old defeated home favourite Pablo Vives Marcos 6-3, 6-4 in Saturday’s singles final of the ITF World Tennis Tour M25 indoor clay-court event.
In front of packed stands and about 200 spectators on Center Court of the the Laukariz Club de Campo, Rocha set the tone early, gained an early break and dominated most of the rallies with his powerful forehand. The World No. 517 didn’t drop his serve and capitalized on both of his break-point chances to seal victory in one hour and 24 minutes.
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“I was well prepared today. I knew it would be a tense match, as we played each other last week,” said Rocha, who lost to Vives Marcos in the semi-finals of the ITF M25 hard-court event in Martos, Spain. “Conditions were different today but I adapted well. We are used to it. So, I started really well and he missed some balls at the beginning.”
Rocha advanced to the championship match with wins over Martin Landaluce of Spain, Fajing Sun from China, top-seeded US-American Oliver Crawford and Greek youngster Stefanos Sakellaridis.
“Winning a title is always a good feeling. It’s great. I’m happy about my level of tennis and I am very motivated to continue like this. Let’s see,” said Rocha, who practices at the Portuguese Tennis Federation in Lisbon. “We have everything we need. My game is based on my forehand, which is my biggest weapon. I am still trying to improve my serve and to play some drop shots.”
The biggest achievement for the Porto native so far has been to qualify for his first ATP Tour event on home soil at the Estoril Open earlier this season.
“I was very happy to get the wild card for the qualis and then making it into the main draw,” Rocha told Tennis TourTalk. “It was a great experience and that’s what I am practicing for. I am pretty sure that I will soon have a ranking position to enter more of these events. A lot of tournaments are coming up in Portugal and I am trying to play the best in Challengers and Futures.”
Rocha earned $3,600 in prize money as well as 25 ATP Ranking points.
Vives Marcos finishes runner-up
“He was more aggressive than me and dictated most of the rallies. He was just better today,” Vives Marcos had to admit. “I had a good week. I am very confident and my level is high.”
The 22-year-old from Palma de Mallorca trained at the Rafa Nadal Academy four years ago but then decided to go to the United States to study economics and to play college tennis. “I still have two more years and I am trying to get my degree and to improve on the court. Then I want to start a pro career.”
Before crossing the Atlantic again, Vives Marcos will stay in Europe for a few more week, competing in next week’s Open Kiroleta in Bakio, where the ITF World Tennis Tour swing in the Basque Country is going to continue.