This week's Israel F12 Futures in Herzliya has seen two very interesting players winning three qualifying matches to enter the main draw, with an outstanding age difference between them. The 16-year-old Alexander Gaponenko has qualified for his second main draw Futures action, defeating Ido Salem, Shahar Gabay and Yair Gal to have a chance to fight for his first ATP point.
On the other hand, the 51-year-old Oren Motevassel has produced a little miracle after winning three matches against much younger rivals to enter the main draw of the professional event for the first time since 2014 and no less than 33 years after his pro debut in Tel Aviv! Orel has never won an ATP match (0-7) and he lost two Challenger finals in 1998 and 2000, much before Alexander was even born! By the will of the tennis gods, Gaponenko and Motevassel had a chance to play against each other in the opening round, seeking an important ATP point and the milestone win.
The youngster was hoping to score his first pro win and make a debut on the ATP rankings list while the veteran had a chance to become by far the oldest player in the rankings, and the only one born in the 60's! With 35 years separating the two, the youth defeated the experience as Gaponenko scored a 6-1 6-4 win in an hour and 22 minutes for his first professional triumph.
Alexander defended his second serve in a more efficient way, saving four out of five break points and stealing rival's serve four times from eight chances to secure the win in straight sets. Motevassel struggled on both the first and second serve, fighting well in set number two but not being able to match the rival's shots or movement.
The youngster wo five games in a row from 1-1, breaking Oren in games four and six and rattling off 11 of the last 12 points for a 6-1. They traded breaks at the start of the second set and it was Gaponenko who grabbed the crucial break in game five after two double faults from Motevassel.
Both players served well in the rest of the set and the youngster sealed the deal with a hold at love in the 10th game to reach the second round and secure his first ATP point. ALSO READ: ATP Race To London: Novak Djokovic to challenge Rafael Nadal in Shanghai