Wielding the racket, Martín de la Puente continues to make history. With limitless ambition, the Spanish wheelchair tennis player has conquered the TRAM Barcelona Open, an ITF1 category tournament, only inferior to the Grand Slams. A title of great value, the first of the season, which came from a steep path, since he had to break down two insurmountable walls to date. In the semifinals he beat the British Alfie Hewett and in the final the Argentine Gustavo Fernández, rivals with whom he had always lost.
After signing a brilliant 2022, being number one in the world in doubles with seven titles in this modality, with the US Open and the Masters Cup as the main laurels, the man from Vigo had not yet released his record this season. He was a finalist at the Bolton Indoor, at the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam and at the Baton Rouge Super Series. In Barcelona he also lost in the doubles final, partnering with the Frenchman Stephane Houdet.
On the clay of the Catalan courts she feels at home and she has shown it after displaying her best version to complete one of her best tennis works. He started the competition with a resounding 6-0, 6-1 win over South Korean Ho Won Im, and in the quarterfinals he beat American Casey Ratzlaff 6-2, 7-5. In the semifinals he had to deal with Hewett, one of his black beasts on the international circuit.
Since they met for the first time in 2014 at the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters -known as the World Cup for youngsters, which the Galician later won three times-, the British had defeated him 13 consecutive times. The last one, this year in the Rotterdam final. This time, the wind blew in favor of the Spaniard, who showed his jaws in the rallies and bit from the beginning with a solid game.
In two hours and 11 minutes, he beat the current world number one, champion of the Australian Open, the US Open and Roland Garros, 6-4, 7-6. He still had another major challenge to achieve glory. Gustavo Fernández was waiting for the final, with whom he has shared many training sessions in Barcelona and also tournaments, winning three international trophies as a couple. They had met in 13 games, always with victory for the Argentine. And again, De la Puente managed to end that negative streak to be crowned champion.
He had to be proud, persevere and not give up when things got worse for him. The first set was very disputed and Fernández took it 4-6. The man from Vigo recovered and set a high pace to dismast his rival and win the second set by a clear 6-1. Very firm on serve and direct in exchanges, he did not give his opponent any options in the third set, which ended in his favor 6-2 to win his first ITF1 at his home, at Real Barcelona Polo Club. Step by step, De la Puente has already established himself among the best in the world.
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