Nicola Kuhn became the youngest Spaniard to win an ATP World Tour match since Rafa Nadal after the 18-year-old’s 7-6(4) 6-4 victory over Darian King at the Miami Open on Thursday.
Kuhn, who turned 18 on Tuesday and is ranked 211th in the world, became the youngest Spanish winner since 16-times grand slam champion Nadal did it aged 17 in 2004, according to the ATP Tour’s website www.atpworldtour.com.
Also on Thursday, Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis earned himself a second-round match against Roger Federer after thrashing Calvin Hemery of France 6-1 6-2 in barely an hour.
Kuhn, who was born in Austria before his parents moved to Spain when he was a baby, said it was a “special day”.
“It was a very tough match. I’m happy with today’s victory, but now I need to focus on my next match.
“People here have a lot more experience than I have. I have to play matches, learn — whether I win or lose — and ultimately seize opportunities and give my all.”
Kuhn has been eyed for several years as a player to watch, and he notched his first Challenger Tour title in Braunschweig, Germany last July.
Spain have seven players ranked in the top 40 in the world.
Some of the tournament’s big names will take to center court on Friday, with second seed Marin Cilic, fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro and ninth seed Novak Djokovic in second-round action.