Swiss teenager Dominic Stricker came up a winner in his ATP debut, laying the groundwork for the injury return of Roger Federer on Tuesday at the ATP Geneva event.
The 18-year-old French Open junior singles and doubles champion last October, playing on a wild card, upset 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic 7-6(5), 6-1, taking 78 minutes.
The stage was by the 18-year-old potential heir-apparent for Federer’s third match in 15 months after two knee procedures in 2020 and a long and thorough rehab period.
The 419th-ranked Stricker was somehow passed over for a Roland Garros wild card by French organisers despite his winning record just months ago in Paris.
The young left-hander fired nine aces against Cilic while breaking the 32-year-old Croat four times.
Stricker fought from 4-1 down in the opening-set tiebreaker and dominated the second set against the No. 46 who once reached third in the rankings.
Stricker will play for the quarter-finals against Marton Fucsovics, who beat Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 7-5, 7-5.