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Forejtek stuns Cilic in first main-tour match at Sofia Open

There was a big upset on Day 1 of the Sofia Open, and it was engineered by a 19-year-old against a Grand Slam champion. Jonas Forejtek knocked off Marin Cilic in straight sets.

Sofia Open, first round
FOREJTEK d. CILIC (8) 6-3, 6-2

  • Key info: This was Forejtek’s first-ever match at an ATP-level tournament.
  • You will also learn: Cilic ended a historically bad season in disappointing fashion.
  • Why you should read this story: It marked the announcement on tour of another rising star.

Remember the name: Jonas Forejtek. And remember where you may have first heard it: the 2020 Sofia Open.

Forejtek is known to hardcore tennis fans because he won the 2019 US Open boys singles title and has enjoyed some success at Challengers and ITF Futures events, but he had never played in an ATP-level tournament prior to Monday. Needless to say, he was a bit of an unknown commodity for most people in the tennis world going into his matchup against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.

If a lopsided contest was expected, then that is exactly how it turned out. However, it was not in Cilic’s favor but in Forejtek’s. The 19-year-old needed only one hour and six minutes to oust the former world No 3 in straight sets.

Making a name for himself

Forejtek came out firing, holding at love in the opening game and then breaking Cilic for a 2-0 lead. The young Czech never looked back, consolidating his advantage most of the way and eventually breaking the Croat again to make up for one service donation of his own.

Cilic was making one last attempt in 2020 to capture an ATP title. In fact, the veteran had not even reached a quarter-final. Nonetheless, he went away without much of a fight in the second set on Monday. Forejtek surged to a 5-1 lead and then served for the match at 5-2. He briefly got tight by squandering three match points from 40-0 but promptly took the next two points to clinch victory.

Forejtek is the third player born in 2001 to win an ATP-level match. That list also includes Jannik Sinner (25 wins) and Brandon Nakashima (three). Carlos Alcaraz and Lorenzo Musetti are even younger and have earned main-tour victories.

Other results

Forejtek is joined in the last 16 by Egor Gerasimov, Salvatore Caruso, and Adrian Mannarino, Vasek Pospisil, Marc-Andrea Huesler, and Aslan Karatsev.

Pospisil needed a third-set tiebreaker to outlast Illya Marchenko, who served for the match late in the decider and then blew a 4-0 advantage in the ‘breaker.

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