CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, August 2, 2016
Main draw action of the third edition of the €42,500 ATP Challenger in Cortina d’Ampezzo kicked off on Tuesday at the local Tennis Country Club.
Filippo Volandri emerged victorious from the “battle of the veterans”, knocking top seed Carlo Berlocq 6-4, 6-2. The 34-year-old Italian set the tone early, didn’t face a break point and broke the Argentine’s serve three times. Volandri finished the encounter after one hour and 17 minutes.
“I knew that I had to try to dictate my game against an experienced player like him,” Volandri said and will next face Serbian youngster Laslo Djere, who fought past Gonzalo Lama 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 43 minutes.
Third favourite Facundo Bagnis defeated 2o-year-old Christian Garin 6-1, 7-6. The world number 91 from Argentina sent down seven aces, winning 82% of his first service points to prevail in one hour and 22 minutes. Bagnis will next take on Mohamed Safwat. The Cairo native eased past Italian wild card Gianluca Mager 6-1, 6-2 in only 56 minutes.
The tournament’s number four Karen Khachanov, who entered the event with a wild card, had a slow start into his match against Salvatore Caruso but eventually found his rhtyhm. Russia’s NextGen star rallied back to overcome the Italian 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 in one hour and 25 minutes.
“In the first set all the balls sailed out, and in the following two sets they stayed in the court,” Khachanov simply stated. He will next play another local, as Lorenzo Giustino beat Agustin Velotti 6-3, 7-6.
Marco Cecchinato, who has been found guilty of match fixing and got banned by the Italian Tennis Federation for 18 months, also appeared in Cortina’s main draw, as the ATP has still not validated the ban and the tournament is played at international level. Cecchinato, however, lost his opening match to Aslan Karatsev. The 22-year-old Russian capitalized on six of his nine break point chances to secure victory in 67 minutes. Karatsev awaits Matteo Donati in the second round.