Saturday was a historic day for sport in Malaga as padel players from the province reached the final in the men's and women's section, respectively, of the same tournament for the first time.
Bea González from Malaga city, 19, and Álex Ruiz from Alhaurín de la Torre, 26, both reached the showpiece of the Adelsas Madrid Open, which kicked off the 2021 World Padel Tour season.
For González, Sunday was the fourth Open final of her fledgling career and her second chance to win a title after she and former number one Marta Ortega claimed the Vuelve a Madrid title in July 2020, which made González the youngest ever winner of an Open.
However, alongside Lucía Sainz, González lost out in Sunday’s final to the number three ranked pair, Paula Josemaría (González’s former partner) and Ari Sánchez. This young duo kept their opponents tied down right from the outset and took the championship in just two sets thanks to their consistency, very few unforced errors, and Josemaría’s brilliant smashes.
In the men’s doubles, Álex Ruiz and his partner Franco Stupaczuk reached the final to fight for what would have been Ruiz’s first title after steam-rolling the number ones, Lebrón and Galán, and the number threes, Tapia and Lima, in the earlier rounds. In a memorable clash, the Spanish-Argentinian duo took the first set of the final against the number two ranked pair, Fernando Belasteguín (former world number one for two decades) and Sanyo Gutiérrez, but their opponents fought back and eventually claimed victory in three sets (7-6, 4-6 and 3-6).
Though runners-up this time, the 2021 padel season holds great promise for the two players from Málaga.