There was a time when it seemed impossible to glimpse the relief of Rafael Nadal in Spanish tennis. Beyond Garbiñe Mugurza on the women's circuit, few promising players emerged from the new generations. For this reason, the federation decided to keep an eye on some teenagers in order not to let talent escape. One of those promises was Paula Badosa. She was born in New York when her parents lived there -they were dedicated to the world of fashion-, it was not until she was seven years old when she returned to Catalonia. There was a risk that she could represent the United States, but she Badosa, at the age of 18, opted for Spain. The announcement, in 2015, was produced jointly with a 15-year-old boy who was pointing out ways.
Nicola Kuhn had been named a revelation player in the Junior Davis Cup. Two years later, in that same category, he would reach the Roland Garros final. Along with Alexander Davidovich, the future was his. Within the celebration they congratulated Kuhn, whose father was German and whose mother was Russian but who had lived in Torrevieja (Alicante) since he was a child, chose to represent the nation that saw him grow up. Seven years later, Nadal has an heir but it is not Kuhn, a naturalized German, but Carlos Alcaraz.
Both players faced each other in the first round of the Hamburg tournament, where the Murcian suffered to beat the German in three sets, the last one with a tense tie break (3-6, 6-1 and 7-6(3)) to finish off the German Nicola Khun by , in two hours and 24 minutes, and go through the first round of the German tournament that is played on clay.
The number 6 in the world and for the first time the first seed of an ATP tournament did not start the match on the right foot, exchanging blows with Khun, number 259 in the ATP ranking and a guest of the tournament. That dynamic translated into a break for Kuhn, who held on to the lead to win the first set.
However, the 19-year-old from El Palmar reacted strongly in the second round. He only lost one game to his 22-year-old opponent, who represented Spain until 2021. The third and final set was hotly contested despite Khun's injury to his right leg, which did not prevent the German from fighting until he took Alcaraz to the decisive game.
Already in the tiebreaker, the Spanish tennis player put one more gear to close the match with more uncertainty than expected. With the passage to the round of 16, Alcaraz will seek to continue with his particular full of victories in ATP 500 tournaments in 2022, after having won in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.