Fonseca: The Brazilian boy wonder set for Norrie test

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Fonseca: The Brazilian boy wonder set for Norrie test

Joao Fonseca claimed his maiden ATP Masters victory as he rallied past fellow teenager Alex Michelsen 4-6 6-0 6-2 and is now gearing up to face Britain’s Cameron Norrie at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The 17-year-old came on serve at 3-1 in the deciding set and fought off four break points to maintain his lead and sealed his victory in two hours and one minute.

The Brazilian made his ATP Tour debut at 2023 Rio de Janeiro as a 16-year-old wildcard and is now set for one of his biggest tests to date when he faces Norrie on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

The former junior No 1, who was a quarter-finalist on home soil in Rio de Janeiro and last week in Bucharest, climbed up to No 222 in the ATP rankings.

“I’m very, very happy with the way that I played,” said Fonseca, who won 61 per cent of his second-serve return points.

“First set, I was super nervous. [He didn’t have to] play, I was missing first. The beginning of the second set I started feeling better.

“The crowd really helped me to [make] this transition, to be more solid. The crowd helped a lot.

“The second set I just tried to be more solid, and I think that he was more tense than me in the second set. I played well.”

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Tennis had always been a prominent part of Fonseca’s life. He grew up 10 minutes away from the site of the Rio Open where his mother would take him to play on clay courts.

In 2023, he was invited to the Nitto ATP finals as a hitting partner and practiced alongside Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner.

Fonseca wasn’t the only teen featuring in Madrid. On Thursday, 16-year-old Darwin Blanch received a wildcard to the main draw where his first-round opponent was Rafael Nadal, the ‘King of Clay’.

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Nadal dominated Blanch to claim a masterful 6-1 6-0 victory in the opening round of the Madrid Open and wrapped up victory in just 63 minutes.

Lefty Blanch was making just his second ATP Masters 1000 appearance in the space of five weeks after his tour-level debut on home soil in Miami.

In 2023 Blanch was the ninth-ranked junior in the world before receiving a wildcard for the Miami Open, where he played Thomas Machac in the opening round. He also reached the semi-finals of the Wimbledon boy’s singles last year.

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Watch highlights of the Madrid Open match between Rafael Nadal and Darwin Blanch

Since Roger Federer announced his retirement in 2022 there has been a changing of the guard in tennis with Sinner, 22, and Alcaraz, 20, dominating the reigns.

This change is only going to be exemplified when Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion and a record five-time winner in Madrid, completes his farewell tour. He has previously said that 2024 is likely to be his final season.

Last month, Norrie suffered an early exit at the Monte-Carlo Masters and was beaten by world No 113 Mariano Navone in semi-finals of Rio Open in February.

Despite Norrie’s experience, Fonseca will still put him through his paces when the pair meet on Saturday. The teen has already proven himself in Madrid and now has the chance to claim a famous victory over the Brit.

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What’s coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

In the run-up to the second Grand Slam of 2024 – the French Open at Roland Garros from May 26 – you can watch all of the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete across the clay-court season.

  • Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (ATP and WTA Masters 1000) – May 7-19
  • Geneva Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Lyon Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Internationaux de Strasbourg (WTA 500 with Emma Raducanu in action) – May 20-26
  • Morocco Open (WTA 250) – May 20-26

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Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.

Non-Sky subscribers can stream live matches with a NOW Sports Day and Month Membership, via Sky Sports Tennis, Sky Sports Arena, and Sky Sports Mix channels.

For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on and via Sky Sports social channels.

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Find out all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours

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