Jakub Mensik Follows Carlos Alcaraz's Footsteps Versus Top-5 Rivals

Jakub Mensik notched his career-best victory over Andrey Rublev in Doha

by Jovica Ilic
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Jakub Mensik Follows Carlos Alcaraz's Footsteps Versus Top-5 Rivals
© Stream screenshot

An 18-year-old Jakub Mensik had a great run in Doha, becoming the first player born in 2005 to reach an ATP final and cracking the top-100. Also, Jakub took down Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-6 in the quarter-final, becoming the youngest player with a win over a top-5 rival since Carlos Alcaraz at the 2021 US Open.

The Czech grabbed a notable win at 18 years and five months, setting the bar high for his coevals and those born in 2006 or 2007. Jakub endured a marathon against Andy Murray in the second round and preserved enough energy to topple Andrey in an hour and 36 minutes.

Mensik fired ten aces and prevailed in the pivotal moments, taking only two points more than his opponent.

Jakub Mensik, Doha 2024© Stream screenshot

Jakub denied all six break points, stealing Andrey's serve once in the first set and denying a set point at 5-6 in the second to emerge at the top without playing a decider.

They served well early on, with a teenager passing a top-5 rival at the net in the fourth game to lock the result at 2-2. Mensik closed the sixth game with a volley winner, demonstrating his weapons and playing without fear.

The young gun attacked on the return in the seventh game, delivering a break and moving 4-3 in front after 24 minutes. Jakub sprayed a forehand error in the eighth game, facing the first break point. He denied it after Rublev's backhand error and closed the game with a powerful serve for a 5-3 advantage.

Mensik served for the opener in game ten and fired two powerful serves at 40-15, claiming the opener 6-4 in 38 minutes. Rublev fired a forehand winner in the fourth game of the second set, creating three break chances. Jakub defended them and made a crucial hold.

Andrey netted a backhand in the fifth game, offering his rival a break chance. The Russian denied it with a forehand winner and held with a powerful serve for 3-2. The sixth game saw an opportunity for the returner for the third straight game.

Mensik erased it with a powerful serve and closed the game with another. They served well in the next five games, and the young Czech needed more of that at 5-6. However, Rublev placed a return winner, creating a set point.

Carlos Alcaraz, US Open 2021© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Jakub Mensik secured his first top-5 victory at 18 years and five months.

Mensik saved it with a service winner and held to introduce a tie break.

Andrey led 3-1 and 5-3 before Jakub pulled the mini-break back in the ninth point with a return winner. The Czech moved 6-5 up, and the Russian denied a set point with a winner at the net. The more experienced player netted a routine forehand in the 13th point, facing the second match point.

Jakub seized it with a mighty forehand, celebrating his first top-5 win at 18 years and five months. Two and a half years ago, Carlos Alcaraz celebrated his first top-5 win at 18 years and four months, ousting Stefanos Tsitsipas on the big stage at the US Open.

Carlos made an impressive US Open debut, scoring three wins and becoming the youngest player in the fourth round since Michael Chang and Pete Sampras in 1989!

Carlos Alcaraz & Stefanos Tsitsipas, US Open 2021© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz took down Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-6 after a thriller, prevailing after four hours and seven minutes.

Carlos trailed 5-2 in the third set, denying three set points and stealing it in the tie break for a boost. Stefanos responded with a bagel in the fourth set but could not keep that level in the decider, falling in the deciding tie break and hitting the exit door.

Stefanos had the upper hand in the shortest exchanges, and Carlos eased the deficit a bit in the mid-range ones, going for his shots and hitting more winners and unforced errors. The young gun made a flying start, delivering a couple of breaks at the beginning of the duel and moving 3-0 in front with a smash winner.

The Spaniard clinched his third break in the ninth game, winning the opener 6-3 and making a promising start. Tsitsipas trailed 3-0 in the second set before stepping in, rattling off five games and serving for the set at 5-4.

The Greek defended three break points and held for 6-4, leveling the overall score and gaining a boost. Tsitsipas forged a 5-2 advantage in the third set, taking charge and controlling the pace. However, Alcaraz raised his level and saved three set points in the eighth game.

A teenager pulled one break back, held in game nine and returned at 4-5. Carlos secured another return game, locking the result at 5-5 and gaining confidence. Alcaraz had to dig deep in the 11th game, denying two break points and surviving five deuces before holding for 6-5.

Carlos Alcaraz, US Open 2021© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Spaniard played better in the tie break, cracking a backhand down the line winner at 6-2 to open two sets to one lead. Tsitsipas stayed focused and bageled his young opponent in the fourth set, introducing a decider and becoming the favorite.

Alcaraz saved a break point in the sixth game and leveled the score at 3-3 for more drama. They served well in the remaining games, arranging a deciding tie break. The young gun fired a forehand down the line return winner for 3-1 and passed his rival at the net in the sixth point for 4-2.

An 18-year-old painted a backhand winner for 5-2 and passed Tsitsipas at the net again for 6-3 and three match points. Stefanos denied two, reducing the deficit to 6-5 and serving. Carlos attacked on his third match point, landing a forehand winner and celebrating his career-best victory.

Jakub Mensik Carlos Alcaraz Andrey Rublev
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