Sports

Published on February 24th, 2014 | by John Lyons

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Teenage starlets Garín and Malla prepare for showdown

Christian Garín and Bastian Malla go head to head in an attractive all-Chilean teenage tennis tussle in Ecuador tomorrow.

Salinas – The duo, both 17, meet for the first time in the senior ranks after winning three matches apiece in the qualifying rounds of the ATP Challenger of Salinas.

Garín was the fourth seed of the qualifying tournament and would have been expected to qualify following his impressive performances in the ATP of Buenos Aires recently.

He didn´t disappoint, winning all his matches in straight sets. After beating Colombia´s Felipe Escobar 6-0, 6-4, the hot prospect saw off compatriot Nicolás Jarry 6-1, 6-4. Eighteen-year-old Jarry (715) had earlier beaten Ecuador´s Daniel Merker 6-1, 6-3 to earn the match against Garín.

Garín booked his place in the main draw with a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win against seventh seed Fabiano De Paula, of Brazil.

Meanwhile, Malla also made light work of his three matches. He knocked out Ecuador´s Gonzalo Escobar 6-0, 6-3, another home player Ivan Endara, the top seed of qualifying, 6-4, 6-4 and Brazil´s Bruno Sant´Anna, also 6-4, 6-4.

Going on world rankings, Garín will be expected to win. He is 402 on the scale, while Malla is 739. However, there is little pressure on Malla and he comes into the match in confident mood following a string of recent wins.

The match has been scheduled for centre court, not before 3pm, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Chilean number two Gonzalo Lama (293), who didn´t have to play the qualifiers, has a tough assignment in the first round.

He is first up tomorrow at 11am on court two against Andrej Martin. The Slovakian is the tournament´s second seed and is world ranked 139.

The other Chilean player in the tournament, Matias Sborowitz (1,042) was knocked out in the first qualifying round. He lost 6-4, 7-6 to Peru´s Mauricio Echazu.

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