The season’s 11th ATP Challenger event in Italy is taking place in Cordenons from 9th to 17th August for the 11th edition of the Friuladria Crédit Agricole Tennis Cup. The tournament is held at the Eurosporting complex with a total prize money of € 42.500,- and ninety ATP ranking points for the winner. 2013 champion Pablo Carreňo-Busta will not defend his title this year but with top-seed Paolo Lorenzi, the tournament features at least one top 100-player.
Almost the entire first round matches took place on Tuesday with the exception of the encounter between Elias Ymer and Janez Semrajc played on Monday. The only 18-year-old Swede, who reached the second round in Bastad this July, defeated the world number 325 from Slovenia in one hour and 49 minutes winning 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
Heavy rains during the night and drizzle in the morning led to a late start on Tuesday. On midday the sun came out and helped to dry the courts faster but there were still a couple of interruptions throughout the day, in particular on the outside courts.
Andrea Arnaboldi was the first seeded player losing in the opening round. The tournament’s number nine was taken out by Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor winning in straight sets 6-7, 6-2. “I really do feel tired now. I had a couple of exhausting days. Back in San Marino I thought that it would be ok but now I think that it was maybe a bit too much. Nonetheless, I don’t regret it as I reached the second round now,” the world number 925 told after he had to play the qualification in Cordenons last weekend when he was still in the doubles main draw in San Marino, where he made it into the final. “We played an exhausting first set today but in the beginning of the second I made a break and Andrea did a couple of mistakes. The difference made my serve, which was better in the second set,” Skugor added about today’s match, in which the opening frame took 71 minutes.
Last week’s San Marino Champion Adrian Ungur, who is seeded sixth in Cordenons, remained on the winning track beating lucky loser Adrian Sikora in 93 minutes 6-4, 6-3.
San Marino’s finalist Antonio Veic also had a successful start into the new week. The 26-year-old defeated his Croatian fellow countryman and qualifier Viktor Galovic for the third time in three weeks winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in almost two hours.
Top-seed Paolo Lorenzi had some problems to overcome his 19-year-old compatriot Stefano Napolitano today. The world number 504 was an equal opponent and the Rome native needed to go the distance to seal victory winning 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. “I knew that it could be difficult today. Stefano is a young and very good player. It was a good match, maybe a bit too long but it’s ok. At the beginning I was a bit stiff but the longer the match lasted it became better and better. At the end I felt the balls better, which was the key today I think,” the 32-year-old seemed to be relieved after the two hours and 38 minutes-fight. “Of course, I would like to win the tournament but every match is tough like today. I hope to recover quickly and I’ll try to give my best every day,” the top-seed said about his personal goal for this week.
With Flavio Cipolla only one wild card advanced into the second round. The 30-year-old from Rome took out Benjamin Balleret winning 7-5, 6-2 in 90 minutes.
Former world number 25 and fourth-seeded Filippo Volandri, still very popular in Italy, beat Jurgen Zopp in one hour and 37 minutes winning 7-6, 6-3.
Besides the dominance of Italian athletes (9 players) in the main draw, there are six men from Spain competing in Cordenons. 36-year-old Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo initiated a successful start for the “Armada” winning his opening match against Rogerio Dutra Silva in one hour and 43 minutes 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.
Second-seeded Daniel Gimeno-Traver followed his compatriot into the second round defeating Italian wild card Erik Cripaldi 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 in two hours and five minutes. “I didn’t feel really good in the first two sets. The key was the beginning of the third, when I broke his serve. The first match in a tournament is always tough. I arrived pretty late, which is not the best in terms of preparation,” the Spaniard said. “I just returned from Germany, where we won the team competition title in the Bundesliga with Blau-Weiß Halle. It was really nice and it is a great thing for the people there, who are working so hard and making everything for us to feel comfortable,” Gimeno-Traver told about his last weekend.
Fifth-seed Albert Montaňes had no problems in his opening match against only 18-year-old Italian wild card Filippo Baldi winning their first ever meeting in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
Only Roberto Carballés-Baena was defeated a fourth time out of his last six first round matches, losing today against a very solid Rui Machado in two hours and three minutes 6-7, 4-6.
In an all-Spanish-affair Daniel Muňoz de la Nava beat Enrique Lopez-Pérez for the second time after he emerged victorious in Tunis last year. The 32-year-old from Madrid gained a straight set victory in one hour and 32 minutes winning 7-5, 6-3.