At 36 years old, Horace Zeballos accumulates new marks in the history of Argentine tennis doubles. The left-hander from Mar del Plata, together with the Spanish Marcel Granollers, advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open by defeating the Slovakian Filip Polasek and the Australian John Peers, fifth favorites, 7-6 (7-5) and 6-4. Thus, Zeballos is the first player from our country to reach the semifinals in the four Grand Slam tournaments: he also did so at Roland Garros (2013), Wimbledon (Finalist in 2021) and the US Open (finalist in 2019).
“It’s something my dad was telling me. [también se llama Horacio] the match was barely over. It’s not something I had thought about. I love it, it’s a joy to seek more targets. I was always very sincere in saying that I made the most of my career in singles, and now in doubles, this type of achievement gives me motivation, and makes me want to keep coming to these tournaments and do well”, highlighted Zeballos at the back press.
In search of the final, Zeballos and Granollers will face a demanding duel against the explosive Australian couple made up of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, who in another quarterfinal beat New Zealander Michael Venus and German Tim Puetz 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, in a Kia Arena that was collapsing encouraging the pair aussie.
“The fact of being local plays in their favor, they have achieved great results and they want to do well. They both have a beastly serve, it will be difficult to return them, but we have to focus on our game, not get hooked on the public or the show they can put on, ”Zeballos commented on what is coming.
At the same time, the man from Mar del Plata told this newspaper: “It is also good that there are more names like them going around in the doubles draw. We see that now more singles players play it, a little because it helps them with confidence and rhythm, also the prizes have gone up, and that means that there are more couples outside of the usual doubles players”.
For the Argentine-Spanish couple, this Australian Open is the first tournament of the year. “We came a week before to prepare, and every set we play we take it as if it were a serious match to feel the nerves of the competition. At this point, we both value resting a little more. Over the years, we have chosen to focus on the weeks we play and arrive fresher in the head”, highlighted the left-hander, who considered that this year the Open has “very fast” courts.
the junior tournament
Zeballos is not the only Argentine still in action in Melbourne. In the men’s junior singles, Lautaro Midón from Corrientes took another step forward by beating Belgian Alessio Basile 6-2, 6-1. In the next stage, he will face the top seed, the American Bruno Kuzuhara. “Easy did not go beyond the result. I played at a good level, on a much hotter day, and I had more grit in the important moments. I come with high expectations and try to win everything I can, I feel like I’ve improved a lot in the last six months”, said the man from Corrientes, who arrived in Australia as part of the international team of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).