The good news continued rolling in for Alejandro Davidovich this weekend, as he beat Uzbek Denis Istomin to win his second title of his career in the early hours of Sunday.
His win in the final of the Liuzhou Challenger (6-3, 5-7, 7-6) came just a week after he had entered the ATP top 100 rankings at number 93. This made him only the second ever player from Malaga to reach this milestone, after Emilio Álvarez, who reached number 81 in 1997. Given Davidovich's young age, however, expectations are somewhat higher.
Nevertheless, he nearly contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Sunday's match. After winning the first set 6-3, he raced to a 5-2 lead in the second, setting up a championship point at 40-30. His nerves showed, however, with two double faults handing his veteran opponent a lifeline, and Istomin went on to win that game and the following four to turn the second set on its head and win 7-5.
Davidovich had squandered a similar lead in the tournament's quarter-final againstYuta Shimizu, when he had lost a set by the same score after having a 40-0 advantage at 5-1. But as against Shimizu, Davidovich's resilience provailed and he was not to be deterred by this reverse.
Though his start to the final set gave some cause for concern, being broken in the third game, the youngster got his frustration under control and produced a valiant fightback, staying calm despite missing a further four championship points. He eventually sealed the championship by winning a tie-break in which he won a point after slipping and quickly getting back on his feet.
This was Davidovich's fourth Challenger final of the year. He came up short in Bangkok against James Duckworth and in Genoa versus Lorenzo Sonego, but got the better of Jaume Munar in Seville.
The strategy devised by Davidovich and his coach Jorge Aguirre of avoiding the major ATP World Tour tournaments, and focusing on Challenger tournaments which Davidovich goes into as a serious contentder, seems to be paying off. After all, the Malaga-born star has shot up in the rankings - he began his second senior year in 237th place.
Davidovich pulled out of the Shenzhen Challenger he was scheduled to be playing in this week in case he receives a late call-up to the NextGen finals, which will take place next week in Milan.
The tournament, in its third edition this year, brings together the eight best under-21 players in the world. Davidovich is currently the tenth highest ranked amongst under-21 players, but with Stefanos Tsitsipas absent and Felix Auger-Aliassime injured, Jannik Sinner, has been invited as a wildcard entry instead instead. Davidovich will be his replacement if he is unable to participate for any reason.
Davidovich's decision will mean he will drop in the rankings - no points are up for grabs in the Next-Gen tournament even if he does end up playing - but he can surely afford to drop a few places after reaching number 82 at such a young age with his victory over Istomin.
The future looks bright for this boy from Rincón de la Victoria.