ATP Budapest: Attila Balazs stuns John Millman. Cuevas and Herbert advance

Tennis - Jannik Sinner has become the first player born in 2001 with a win at the ATP tournament

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Budapest: Attila Balazs stuns John Millman. Cuevas and Herbert advance

World no. 246 Attila Balazs entered the main draw at home ATP event with a wild card, seeking the first win at the ATP tournaments since Umag 2017. Not only he did that but also advanced into the first ATP quarter-final in seven years (Bucharest 2012) following a thrilling 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 victory over the last year's finalist John Millman.

The encounter lasted two hours and two minutes and Attila gave his best to cross the finish line first despite taking four points less than John, fending off seven out of nine break points and breaking the Aussie three times to emerge as the winner.

The Hungarian secured a break in the fifth game of the match after a double fault from Millman, delivering a service winner in game ten to move closer to the finish line. The favorite responded in set number two, taking the last four games with breaks in games six and eight for a 6-2, looking good to overcome the deficit and score an expected win.

Instead of that, Balazs repelled all six break points in the decider and grabbed breaks in the opening game and at 4-2, wrapping up one his most significant triumphs ever with a good serve at 5-2 to enter the last eight. After conquering Tunis Challenger last week, Pablo Cuevas had a few days off and made a solid start in Budapest as well, ousting a qualifier Yannick Maden 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes for the tenth ATP win of the season, the ninth on clay.

Cuevas suffered three breaks and did an excellent job on the return, seizing all four break points and clinching the crucial break in the third game of the final set, experiencing no troubles on serve and moving into the second round.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert has been playing some rock-solid tennis on clay in the last couple of weeks, beating Matthias Bachinger 7-5, 6-2 to advance into the quarters after 81 minutes. The Frenchman lost serve twice and erased that deficit after taking half of the return points for five breaks from 11 chances he created.

Bachinger kicked off the match in a perfect way, racing into a 5-1 lead and wasting a set point at 5-2 before dropping five straight games to hand the set to Herbert who had the momentum now. The Frenchman barely lost a point on serve in set number two, conquering the last four games to move into the quarters.

In the battle of a lucky loser and a player with a wild card, the 17-year-old Jannik Sinner ousted Mate Valkusz 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 in an hour and 43 minutes to become the first player born in 2001 with an ATP win. Jannik has already won Challenger and two Futures titles in 2019 and he will crack the top-300 next week with these points, using the opportunity with both hands once he got a chance to compete in the main draw.

Mate, a former junior no. 1 won two points more than the Italian but it wasn't enough to move over the top, with both players getting broken six times. Sinner created 15 chances and had the upper hand in the decisive moments to notch the first ATP win for 2001 generation.

Valkusz managed to pull the break back in the seventh game of the decider to open the series of poor games for the servers, with Jannik claiming breaks in games eight and ten to secure the milestone win after a booming forehand winner that we shall see many times on the Tour in the next 15 years.

Attila Balazs John Millman Jannik Sinner