Cecchinato won Italian Derby, Marathon Man Fonio

Italy places six players in the second round: in addition to Mager, Cecchinato, Fonio, Dalla Valle, Vincent Ruggeri and Gaio advance. No. 1 Ramos-Vinolas saves himself at the photo finish.

On a day when a beautiful sun finally came out, the field smiled at Italtennis . Of the nine Italians on the draw, six reached the second round. The only ones to leave the ASPRIA Harbor Club were Andrea Picchione, Federico Arnaboldi and the very young Francesco Cinà, beaten by Marco Cecchinato in the long-awaited Sicilian derby. Cinà comes out defeated, but not reduced, after a 6-2 7-6 in which he showed his qualities and had his chances to take the match to the third set. He broke Cecchinato at 4-4 and served for the set, and was ahead 4-2 in the tie-break. It is certainly not a match that marks his path, but he showed an already excellent technique and an overall structure (physical + tactical) that is still a little immature. The physique has grown a lot in recent months and still has to adapt to the new measures, while sagacity and mischief will come with time. A very spirited Cecchinato (who boasts success in this tournament in 2016) reaches the round of 16 and will face the Romanian Filip Cristian Jianu. In a packed day of tennis, with all sixteen first round matches, the most intense emotions – in blue sauce – came from Giovanni Fonio and Enrico Dalla Valle. The Piedmontese won a crazy match against Mathias Bourgue, a Frenchman who took Andy Murray to the fifth set at Roland Garros a few years ago. Fonio blew many chances, risked losing but then got away with it in a final tie-break full of fears. After having a matchpoint at 5-3 and 30-40 on Bourgue’s serve, he found himself at 5-6 and 15-40. He deserved the victory for the way he canceled out the second matchpoint, with a courageous backhand down the line into the top corner . But the tie-break was a seesaw: ahead 6-2, he wasted (playing rather badly) four consecutive matchpoints, then he had to cancel another one in Borgue before closing 10-8, with the final score of 6- 2 3-6 7-6. To release the accumulated tension, after the last point he threw the ball out of the circle.


A lot of determination also for Enrico Dalla Valle: the man from Ravenna won a very tough match against Ignacio Buse, overcoming some moments of nervousness during the second set, when the Peruvian had hit some lucky shots without apologizing. Equipped with an imposing physique, Dalla Valle is slowly learning to exploit it in the best way, unloading a lot of power on his shots, especially serves and forehands, as well as a greater offensive attitude . His current ranking (n.242 ATP) is the best ever, but the feeling is that he has taken the necessary step to further increase his level, perhaps by taking a seat in the qualifiers of the Grand Slam tournaments. There’s not much left for the US Open now. In the round of 16 he will challenge Fonio in a derby between peers. It will be the third direct clash: Enrico and Giovanni shared the first two, which were very close (although dated, the last one was from 2019). Also laughing in Casa Italia are Federico Gaio , coming from the qualifiers, very good at overcoming Egor Gerasimov in a three-set battle, and Samuel Vincent Ruggeri , capable of dominating the Czech Vrbensky at a distance. In the round of 16 he will have a tough test against Albert Ramos-Vinolas . The tournament’s number 1 seed took a big risk against the spirited Gonzalo Bueno, 16 years his junior. The Peruvian can (must?) complain about having been ahead by a break for a good part of the third set, and having served both at 5-4 and 6-5 (after having broken Ramos in a very tough eleventh game, which lasted 14 points) . The opportunity having been wasted, the horse was now off and Ramos dominated the tie-break, sealing his eleventh victory in a row in Milan.


First Round Singles
Federico Agustin Gomez (ARG) b. Federico Arnaboldi (ITA) 6-2 6-3
Federico Gaio (ITA) b. Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-3 1-6 6-3
Samuel Vincent Ruggeri (ITA) b. Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1
Gianluca Mager (ITA) b. Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez (MEX) 6-1 3-6 6-3
Filip Cristian Jianu (ROM) b. Javier Barranco Cosano (SPA) 6-3 7-6(7)
Enrico Dalla Valle (ITA) b. Ignacio Buse (PER) 6-4 1-6 6-2
Ivan Gakhov (RUS) b. Gauthier Onclin (BEL) 6-2 6-2
Giovanni Fonio (ITA) b. Mathias Bourgue (FRA) 6-2 3-6 7-6(8)
Albert Ramos (SPA) b. Gonzalo Bueno (PER) 4-6 6-0 7-6(3)
Nicolas Sanchez Izquierdo (SPA) b. Andrea Picchione (ITA) 6-3 1-6 6-1
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) b. Federico Cinà (ITA) 6-2 7-6(4)
Elmer Moller (DAN) b. Tristan Lamasine (FRA) 7-6(4) 7-6(3)
Vilius Gaubas (LTU) b. Yaroslav Demin (RUS) 6-1 6-0
Chun-Hsin Tseng (TPE) b. Carlos Taberner (SPA) 7-5 3-6 6-4
Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) b. Gabriel Debru (FRA) 6-4 4-6 6-3
Nicolas Alvarez Varona (SPA) b. Maks Kasnikowski (POL) 6-4 7-6(5)