Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, 27 years old and 111 in the world ranking, will be the first rival of Rafael Nadal at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell-68 Conde de Godó Trophy. He won the duel between survivors of the previous phase to the Dutch Tallon Griekspoor by 6-3 and 6-1 in 57 minutes.
The duel, unprecedented in the ATP Tour, will take place on Wednesday the 21st, predictably around three in the afternoon. The eleven-time champion held a double training session on Monday cleaning up the errors in the defeat against Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo and finalizing its premiere at RCT Barcelona-1899.
Ivashka inaugurated his record of victories in the main draw of the tournament, in which he debuted in 2018, yielding to Frenchman Gilles Simon.
He knows the city well, since he spent a few years in the academy 4Slam Tennis by Galo Blanco or Fernando Vicente, coinciding with Andrey Rublev or Egor Gerasimov. Ivashka met the Cuenca man in the center Pepe Checa, former player and now coach.
A more hard court tennis player, he concluded last season on that surface winning 13 of his 14 matches in Challenger ATP tournaments, winning those in Istanbul and Ortisei.
He hit the clay two weeks ago in the ATP 250 from Marbella, where he could with the Spanish Pedro Martínez and Alejandro Davidovich, losing in the quarterfinals to Jaume Munar.
In the Godó preview, he left American Maxime Cressy and Italian Federico Gaio behind.