Tennis: Czech teenager Mensik stuns top seed Rublev at Qatar Open

AFP , Thursday 22 Feb 2024

Czech teenager Jakub Mensik stunned top seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Qatar Open on Thursday to reach his maiden ATP semi-final and guarantee a spot in the world's top 100 for the first time.

Jakub Mensik
Czech Republic s Jakub Mensik hits a return against Russia s Andrey Rublev during their men s singles quarter-final match at the ATP Qatar Open tennis tournament in Doha on February 22, 2024. AFP


The 18-year-old came through 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) against the fifth-ranked Rublev, a day after defeating three-time Grand Slam title winner Andy Murray.

"It's just been an incredible week. From the beginning I played very well and I knew I could play with the big players. It's an amazing feeling to reach the semi-finals after beating those good players," said wildcard Mensik who arrived in the Gulf ranked at 116.

"But the job is not done yet. Hopefully I can play like this again in the semis and go on to make the final."

With his one-hour, 38-minute win on Thursday, Mensik became the youngest player to defeat a top-five player since Carlos Alcaraz overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 US Open.

Mensik will face Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils, who meet later in an all-French quarter-final, for a place in Saturday's final.

The other semi-final will see Australia's Alexei Popyrin face Russian second seed Karen Khachanov.

Popyrin eased past Kazakh fourth seed Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-4 while Khachanov went through when Finnish opponent Emil Ruusuvuori retired with an injury after just three games.

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