The micro-state of San Marino has become a traditional stop on the ATP Challenger Tour for the past 26 years. The enclaved Republic, completely surrounded by Italy, is located only 25 kilometres away from a couple of the most popular tourist destinations at the Adriatic Sea like Rimini or Riccione. The country counts about only 30.000 inhabitants but the local tournament always presents a nice line-up of solid, mainly European clay court specialists. Former world number 27 Potito Starace returned to San Marino seeking his fourth title after winning in 2004, 2007 and 2011 but the 33-years-old Italian lost in the tournament’s opening stage on Tuesday against Spanish fourth-seed Daniel Albert Montanes.In contrast to Kitzbühel’s semi-finalist and third-seeded Argentine Maximo Gonzalez, who lost in San Marino’s first round to Guillherme Clezar, Italian Simone Bolelli was still looking to extend his 16-victories win-streak on the ATP Challenger Tour as the top-seed at the Go&Fun Open.
In Friday’s opening match of the quarterfinals fourth-seeded Albert Montaňes took on Adrian Ungur for the first time since Kitzbühel 2013, where the Spaniard emerged victorious through a straight set victory on the Austrian clay. Today, it became a classic fight on the dirt of San Marino, in which the Romanian, who has been practicing in Florence for six years and therefore is fluent in Italian, was the more aggressive player in the decisive moments sealing victory in the tie-break of the third set winning 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 in two hours and 16 minutes.
“It was a very difficult match today. At the end of the first set I didn’t think that I could win but then I improved my serve and I just fought until the end,” Ungur said afterwards. “I had some problems with my right shoulder so that my service wasn’t at one hundred per cent but this was better for me, as I was forced to put my first services in,” the Romanian added with a smile. “Although I went back home three years ago, playing in Italy is always something special for me. I still have a lot of friends here, who also come to watch my matches,” the 29-year-old explained.
Wild Card Victor Troicki faced Antonio Veic for the second time. The Serbian won the only previous meeting between the two in Umag last year and is playing only his third tournament in twelve months after he had failed to submit a sample during Monte Carlo event in April 2013, which resulted in a suspension due to anti-doping violation. The Croat was in control of Friday’s encounter beating the former world number 12, who has struggled with an abdomen injury since the first round, in straight sets winning 6-2, 6-4 in 79 minutes.
The all Italian-affair between the tournament’s top-seed Simone Bolelli and Alessandro Giannessi took place as part of the evening session under floodlight. In a very close encounter with only six break points in the entire match. The world number 90 from Bologna, who already won four ATP Challenger titles in Oberstaufen, Tunis, Vercelli and Bergamo this year, had the better start into the match, dominated from the baseline and capitalized on the very first break point in the opening game. Giannessi, had his first opportunity to gain a break only in the tenth game of the second set when Bolelli double faulted while facing set point at the same moment. Yet, the 28-year-old Monte Carlo resident seemed to recover from the shock and repeated happenings of the first set by gaining an early break but Giannessi was able to level things quickly. The world number 336 from La Spezia became more solid the longer the match lasted winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in almost two hours reaching his first semi-final of the season.
“I was very focused throughout the match today and I’m really happy about my performance. I think this was one of my best matches in my career and so I enjoy this moment a lot,” Giannessi was overwhelmed by ending Bolelli’s win-streak on the ATP Challenger Tour.
The last quarterfinal between the third remaining Wild Card Filip Krajinovic and Brazilian qualifier Guilherme Clezar ended right after midnight with the 21-year-old from Porto Alegre winning in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 in one hour and 47 minutes.