Zapata surprises Fritz, 14th and winner in Indian Wells

His name is Bernabé Zapata Miralles, he was born in Valencia, he is 25 years old and he is 131st in the world. From this Wednesday, tennis fans will know him a little better, after winning at Roland Garros with a comeback in four sets (3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and 6-3 in 2h17) against Taylor FritzAmerican 24th and 14th in the ranking, who a couple of months ago was proclaimed champion in Indian Wells by beating a depleted Rafa Nadal in the final.

With the biggest victory of his career, he had never beaten a top-20 (yes a top-50, John Millman), Bernabé qualified for the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his fourth appearance. Until now he had fallen in his debut in Paris and Wimbledon, and in the second step of the US Open, last year. In his beginnings he stood out and, in fact, he beat two future Masters 1,000 champions, Hubert Hurkacz and Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the Junior European Championship in 2015.

Zapata was better than Fritz in almost everything, starting with the serve and the breaks. He broke the American nine times and was not far behind in winning shots (24-26). In the fourth round, he prevailed after a succession of breaks, with personality when his rival made a threatening 30-30. A shot close to the net gave him an exciting victory, which he celebrated on the verge of tears and with the support of an audience that he had won over. “Zapatá, Zapatá…” they yelled at him, accentuating the ‘a’. On Friday he will compete again, against another player from the United States, the 2.08 giant John Isner, who could with the French Barrere (6-4, 6-4, 3-6 and 7-6 (5)). His triumph makes him climb virtually 25 positions in the ranking, to 106, the best of his career.