Justin Engel writes Challenger history at 16

Justin Engel delivered the first Challenger win for the 2007 generation

by Jovica Ilic
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Justin Engel writes Challenger history at 16
© Stream screenshot

In May, Diego Dedura-Palomero became the first player born in 2008 with a Challenger win. Another young German entered the Challenger record books this week, also at the home event. The 16-year-old Justin Engel received a wild card at the Challenger 75 Tennis Open in Karlsruhe, playing his first main draw match at this level.

Justin used the opportunity and took down Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 50 minutes, becoming the first player born in 2007 with a Challenger victory! They needed four hours to wrap up the duel, with the rain sending them off the court two times.

It rained when they started and also in the closing stages of the duel. The younger rival got used to the conditions more efficiently and achieved a career-best victory in straight sets.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Karlsruhe Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

Justin produced more reliable numbers on serve and return.

He saved six out of eight break points and stole Pierre-Hugues' serve four times from six opportunities. A teenager landed a deep return in the first game of the encounter, creating two break points. Engel converted the first in heavy rain, welcoming Herbert's forehand error and building an early advantage.

Justin denied a break point in game two with a service winner and wrapped up the game with an ace down the T line for 2-0. The rain sent them off the court, and they returned almost two hours later. Herbert held at love in the third game and landed a winner at the net two games later for 2-3.

They left the court again in the sixth game, and the Frenchman pulled the break back once they returned, locking the result at 3-3.

Justin Engel, Karlsruhe Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

Justin Engel is the first player born in 2007 with a Challenger win.

Engel stayed focused and clinched a break at love in game seven with a backhand winner, moving in front and landing a service winner in the next one for 5-3.

Herbert served to stay in the set in the ninth game and faced two set points. He denied them with winners and held to prolong the action. Justin served for the set at 5-4 and played against a break point. The young gun denied it with a service winner and converted a set point after the rival's forehand error for 6-4 and a boost.

Justin Engel & Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Karlsruhe Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

Engel attacked on the return in the first game of the second set, landing a backhand down the line winner for a break at love.

The German saved two break points in the second game and landed a service winner two games later for 3-1. Justin played better in rainy conditions and fired another backhand down the line winner in the fifth game, breaking his opponent at love and building a massive advantage.

Herbert pulled one break back in game six and held at love in the next one to reduce the deficit. Engel grabbed the eighth game with a hold at love after a powerful serve and served for the win at 5-4. The young gun held with a service winner, sealing the deal and delivering the first Challenger victory for the 2007 generation.

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