Jiri Lehecka triumphs in ATP Next Gen clash to continue ‘indescribable’ Rotterdam run
Jiri Lehecka overcame fellow ATP Next Gen star Lorenzo Musetti to move into his first ever tour level semi-final.
The 20-year-old Czech only made it into the main draw of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament via qualifying, defeating home talent Jesper de Jong and Frenchman Corentin Moutet there to take his place.
The world number 137 then ousted Wimbledon semi-finalist and world number 12 Denis Shapovalov in the first round before taking out Dutch number one Botic van de Zandschulp and now Musetti to reach the last four.
“I would be happy if I could [describe it] in words!” He said in his post-match interview.
“But, yeah, it’s an incredible feeling.
“The things I am [experiencing] right here in this stadium are incredible.”
Lehecka’s victory over Shapovalov was his first main draw appearance on the ATP tour, making it a perfect debut with victory over the Canadian.
“I’m very happy that I’m part of it, you know,” he said of competing at ATP tour level.
“This is the big stage that everyone is talking about and I’m happy that I can be here and play these matches.”
With his qualifying run and his main draw success pout together, the Czech will claim at least 200 ranking points from Rotterdam, rising to 320 if he reaches the final and 520 if he wins the event.
Regardless, Lehecka has now ensured he will enjoy a number of ranking milestones come next week.
He will jump at least 41 ranking places to break into the ATP top 100 for the first time and clinch a new career-high of at worst 96th in the world.
Should he win the tournament, he could be ranked as high as 62nd in the world when the rankings update on Monday 14th February.
In addition, at just 20 years old, Lehecka will be eligible to play the Next Gen ATP Finals at the end of this year, ATP finals equivalent for players 21 and under.
He is now second in the ‘Race to Milan’, in between Italians Jannik Sinner in first and Musetti in third.
🎾 Free >> Receive our legendary newsletter
🎾 Order >> World’s best tennis magazine