Youth Is Served: Watch Felix & Alex Battle In Braga
It is shaping up to be a majestic month of May in Portugal.
On Sunday, the European nation was abuzz as Joao Sousa emerged as his country's first winner on home soil on the ATP World Tour. Now, the focus has shifted from Estoril to the northern city of Braga and capital of Lisbon, as the ATP Challenger Tour takes centre stage with a new two-week swing.
Without pause, the fireworks are flying at the Braga Open. In what is set to be a blockbuster quarter-final clash, teens Alex de Minaur and Felix Auger-Aliassime will square off on Friday. Fans in Braga will have quite the treat with two of the brightest young talents in pro tennis kicking off the day on Court Central.
"I know Felix very, very well," said De Minaur. "He has such a strong game and a lot of variety. I remember playing him last year in Canada. Here it will be a different match, because it's on outdoor clay and it's very hot, but I for sure am expecting a great battle and am looking forward to it."
In what could be a potential preview of this year's Next Gen ATP Finals, the stakes are as high as ever. Up to a career-high No. 109 in the ATP Rankings, the Top 100 is in sight for De Minaur, who remains in search of a maiden Challenger title. Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, is seeking his third crown - all on clay - as he bids to make a charge up the ATP Race To Milan standings.
The 19-year-old Aussie and 17-year-old Canadian are already developing a captivating rivalry, with Auger-Aliassime taking three of four previous meetings. They met as juniors on three occasions, including a final victory for the Montreal native at the prestigious Eddie Herr Championships in 2015. One year later, De Minaur would get his revenge on the lawns of Wimbledon with a quarter-final win.
In 2017, they would take their budding rivalry to the ATP Challenger Tour, with Auger-Aliassime earning a 7-5, 6-3 win on home soil in Drummondville. Now, the #NextGenATP stars are looking to write a new chapter as they meet for a fourth consecutive year.
"Every match is tough here and especially against Alex," added the Canadian. "He's one of the best Next Gen players at the moment and we can always count on good matches when we meet."
And with a potential semi-final meeting against fellow teen Casper Ruud on the horizon, the youth revolution is alive in Braga.
If you're not in Braga, we've got you covered. Watch a free live stream of Friday's teen tussle above (at 11:30am BST/6:30am EDT) and all the action from the rest of the week at ATPChallengerTour.com.