Joao Fonseca breaks new ground in Buenos Aires

17-year-old Joao Fonseca is through to his first Challenger semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
Joao Fonseca breaks new ground in Buenos Aires
© Stream Screenshot

The reigning US Open junior champion Joao Fonseca is ready to do the damage on the professional circuit in 2024! The 17-year-old Brazilian broke the new ground at the Buenos Aires Challenger, becoming the first player born in 2006 with the semi-final at this level.

Joao met a former top-65 player Gianluca Mager in the quarter-final and delivered a 6-1, 6-3 triumph in an hour and 17 minutes, sailing into the last four. Fonseca dominated with his first serve, playing against two break points and experiencing one break.

The pressure was on Mager, and he could not deal with it. The Italian dropped 53% of the points in his games and played against 13 break points. Joao seized five breaks, enough to control the scoreboard in both sets. The young gun grabbed four straight return games, imposing his strokes and firing from his mighty forehand.

Gianluca faced three break points in the encounter's first game. He squandered them and grabbed five straight points for a hold, avoiding an early setback.

Joao Fonseca is the first player born in 2006 with the Challenger semi-final.

Fonseca held after deuce in game two with a service winner and landed a forehand down the line winner in the next one for a break point.

The Italian hit a double fault in windy conditions, losing serve and sending a teenager in front. Fonseca secured the fourth game with an ace down the T line and pushed strong on the return in the next one. Joao wasted two break chances before seizing the third after Gianluca's costly double fault, opening a 4-1 lead.

The young gun landed a forehand crosscourt winner in the sixth game, moving 5-1 ahead and forcing his rival to serve to stay in the set. Mager lost the ground behind the initial shot, spraying another double fault and offering Fonseca two set points.

The Italian netted a routine backhand on the first, losing the opener 6-1 in half an hour. Joao played a rare loose forehand in the second set's first game, suffering a break and ending his streak.

Joao Fonseca, Buenos Aires Challenger© Stream screenshot

However, the Brazilian erased the deficit promptly, delivering his fourth straight break of serve in game two for 1-1.

Gianluca experienced a massive blow, wasting a 40-0 lead and getting broken after another double fault. The Italian struggled at 1-2, playing against three more break points and saving them to stay on the positive side. Fonseca moved 3-2 up with a service winner and delivered another fine hold at 3-3 to keep the pressure on the other side.

Mager cracked under it in game eight, spraying a forehand error and facing a break point. The Italian missed a backhand, losing serve and allowing the Brazilian to serve for the victory at 5-3. Joao squandered the first match point with a loose forehand before seizing the second, emerging over the top and securing a place in his first Challenger semi-final.