By Florian Heer
(August 15, 2013) Cordenons, Italy- After a thundery Tuesday night, the courts at the ATP Challenger in Cordenons couldn’t be prepared properly to get the first part of the second round matches underway. Only one set of the encounter between Pablo Carreño-Busta and Salvatore Caruso took place on Wednesday, and then the match was suspended. The surface looked more like a hard court than playing on clay and so all further matches were postponed to Thursday. The Italian qualifier played a good first set but lost it in the tie-break. The following day, Carreño had the better start, broke his opponent’s service in the third, fifth and seventh game and consequently won the encounter 7-6, 6-1 after two hours and two minutes.
Next up on centre court was still a first round match most people were waiting for. It was the “battle of the generations” when defending champion and top-seed Paolo Lorenzi faced the arguably biggest talent in Italian tennis Gianluigi Quinzi. The only 17-year-old, who claimed this year’s Wimbledon junior’s title, received a wild card and seemed to be highly motivated right from the beginning of the match. Quinzi broke in the first game, had to accept the immediate re-break and also the fact that from then on the more experienced player took command. The teenager began to hit a lot of unforced errors and Lorenzi broke his serve for another two times to serve the first set out in the seventh game. The second frame was a copy of the first. Quinzi again started with an early break but then Lorenzi became the dominant player to finally close the match out winning 6-1, 6-2 in sixty-four minutes. “He (Quinzi) was playing very well. The first games of both sets were very good tennis and altogether it was a close match,” Lorenzi said. “I had a big fight yesterday because I think it is not fair that I have to play two matches at one day,” the top-seed added and was well aware that he still had to face Taro Daniel in the evening. Nonetheless he should overcome this task to defeat the 20-year-old Japanese winning 6-4, 6-4 in 96 minutes.
With the exception of Stefano Napolitano, who lost his match in straight sets and only 45 minutes to Norbert Gambos by 1-6, 0-6, all of the other Italians were successful again today.
Fifth-seeded Filippo Volandri took revenge on Marco Cecchinato winning 7-6, 6-1 in one hour and 29 minutes. The 31-year-old lost a couple of days ago the ATP Challenger final in San Marino and was happy with his performance today. “I played a very good first set. It was an even match but in the end I knew that after a tough first set, one of us could get some problems in the following frame. I’m happy with this win and even more that my shoulder felt much better than in San Marino, which is very important for me,” Volandri told us afterwards.
Potito Starace took out the tournament’s second-seed Andreas Haider-Maurer winning 7-5, 6-4. It was an affair in which the Austrian stunned his opponent with his big service. It was the ninth game of the opening set when Haider-Maurer saved the first break points of the match by smashing two aces with more than 200 km/h. When trying to return the service, Starace fell down and almost lost his shoes. Nonetheless, as long as the ball was in play, the Italian was the more solid player. Eventually the 32-year-old gained the break in the eleventh game of the first set and this should become the decisive moment of the encounter. “I was very solid today. Maybe the court was to slow for him (Haider-Maurer) as he prefers to play fast balls. It was unbelievable how he served today but it was important to gain the break in the first set to finally close the match out and I’m very happy now,” Starace analyzed the encounter.
Another Italian in person of Gianluca Naso also advanced into the quarterfinals. The 26-year-old defeated Enrique López-Pérez in their first meeting winning 6-4, 6-4. There with Naso has reached his third ATP Challenger quarterfinal of the season. “I need to play matches to get a better feeling for the ball. I’m improving every round but I also have to admit that I had a good draw. I could have met Lorenzi, Volandri or Carreño in the first round but let’s see what will happen tomorrow,” the Italian told us and is now going to face Lorenzi next.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! His special interest is in Spanish tennis and you can follow his twitter account @armadadetenis.