Alejandro Davidovich is out of the Australian Open, but he managed to make history before being eliminated by 14th seed, Diego Schwartzman.
The tennis prodigy's victory over Slovakian Norbert Gombos, a thrilling five set encounter (4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2) that lasted over three hours, made him the first Malaga-born player to win a match in the finals of the Australian Open.
Davidovich started Tuesday's game slowly, with 29-year-old Gombos taking the first set. The youngster did, however, save three set points, and this gradual improvement continued into the second set, which the world number 85 took to level matters.
He was again on the ropes in the third, a convincing victory for his Slovakian opponent, but he rallied again to take the last two, the win setting up a clash with Diego Schwartzman. "It was a tight game," Davidovich reflected after his win. "Gombos played a very direct game and I had to stay focused in order to win."
Tuesday's match was the first time that Davidovich had played five sets, and his encounter with Schwartzmann was another milestone: the Argentinian is the highest ranked player he has faced on the ATP circuit.
Schwartzman went in as the clear favourite, and there were no real surprises, as he took the match in straight sets (6-1, 6-2, 6-4). Davidovich struggled against his experienced opponent, committing 53 unforced errors to Schwartzman's 29, and the first set was something of a washout.
The 20-year-old showed some improvement in the second set, moving his opponent around the court more, and the score reached 4-4. However, here Schwartzman broke him, and held his nerve in the final game to carry the set.
Perhaps disheartened by his second-set loss, Davidovich's play waned somewhat in the third, as he was broken in the third game, and failed to take several chances to break Schwartzman back.
Despite Davidovich's disappointment, there were clear positives to be taken, and he seemed to be aware of them. "Diego was more solid than I was. I made more errors, but I still leave with a positive feeling. Diego showed me that I've got a lot to learn. I thank him for giving me this lesson."
Only two Malaga-born players have ever previously won a match in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament. Emilio Álvarez won two first-round matches at the French Open, in 1995 and 1998, and one at Wimbledon in 1997, while Adrián Menéndez beat Patrick Kypson at the US open in 2017.
Despite his defeat at the hands of Schwartzman, then, the fact that he has joined this list at such a young age suggests the future is bright for Alejandro Davidovich.