Tennis player Mark Lajal out in California after being at brink of victory

Mark Lajal.
Mark Lajal. Source: UAMS Health Little Rock Open

Top Estonian men's tennis player Mark Lajal went out in round one in the ATP Challenger 75 tournament in Fairfield, California, on Monday evening, losing in three sets, 1:6, 7.4, 6:1 to Tennys Sandgren (US). After winning the first set, Lajal came tantalizingly close to victory, being presented with a match point in the second set.

Lajal is ranked 237th by the ATP, Sandgren 204th; back in 2019 he ranked as high as 41st worldwide.

Lajal started the first set well, going from 1:1 to string together five games in-a-row to take the set 6:1 on the second set point.

Set two was a much lengthier and more evenly matched affair; from 2:2, Sandgren won three in-a-row to go 5:2 up, only for the Estonian to pull back and reach a 6:5 lead after breaking. However, he was unable to progress further as things went to a tie-break situation, with the American prevailing 7:4.

In the decider, it was Sandgren's turn to race to a 6:1 victory as Lajal had done in the first set, again, stringing together five consecutive game wins.

The match lasted one hour and 23 minutes, during which time Lajal served up seven aces, but also committed seven double faults. For Sandgren the figures were six and seven respectively.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Kristjan Kallaste

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