By Erik Gudris/Monday, September 30, 2013
Portugal's Joao Sousa saved a match point in the Kuala Lumpur finals before going on to win his first ever ATP title. Learn more about this rising star who is having a good late season run.
Joao Sousa made history by becoming the first Portuguese man to win an ATP Tour singles title. Learn more about this rising star who is closing in on the Top 50.
Photo Credit: Malaysian Open
1. Guimaraes Guy: Sousa was born on March 30, 1989, in Guimaraes, Portugal. He currently resides and trains in Barcelona, Spain.
2. Early Years: Sousa started playing tennis at age seven with his father at his local club. At age 15, Sousa moved to Barcelona to train and pursue his dream of becoming a pro player.
3. Futures Force: Staring in 2008, Sousa won several ITF Futures singles and doubles events throughout Spain. This year, Sousa won two Challenger titles, one in Furth, Germany and one in his hometown of Guimaraes.
4. Season Surge: After so-so results in main draw events, Sousa got his season going at this year's US Open. He reached the third round in New York where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Sousa then reached the semis of St. Petersburg losing to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
5. Master of Malaysia: Sousa completed a stellar week at the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. He upset top seed David Ferrer for his first ever top five win. He then reached his first ever main draw final where he faced Julien Benneteau. Sousa saved a match point and went on to win his maiden ATP Tour title in three sets.
READ -- Sousa Survives Match Point; Wins Kuala Lumpur Title
6. Portugal Pride: Sousa's title run in Kuala Lumpur made him the first Portuguese man to win an ATP Tour singles title. His result moved Sousa to No. 51 in the rankings, a career high.
7. In His Own Words: "I'm so tired mentally and physically but I just feel amazing, it's just a dream come true, winning my first title here in Malaysia," Sousa said. "I'm really happy to win this title. I hope this helps (my) confidence and to try and do better things."
8. Favorite Shot: Forehand
9. Idol Worship: While growing up, Sousa looked up to Juan Carlos Ferrero, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
10. Social Savvy: Follow Joao Sousa on social media at his Facebook page or on Twitter @joaosousa30
(Sources: ATP, ITF)
Follow Erik Gudris on Twitter @ATNtennis