Carballes Baena Opens Title Bid In Todi

Roberto Carballes Baena

TODI, August 18, 2020

Top seed Roberto Carballes Baena opened his title bid at the €88,520 Internazionali Di Tennis Citta Di Todi with a straight-set victory. The World No. 99 from Spain defeated Austrian young gun Jurij Rodionov 6-2, 6-1 in Tuesday’s opening first-round match at the Tennis Club Todi 1971.

Carballes Baena lost his serve only once in the very first game of the match and capitalized on five of his nine own break point chances to prevail after one hour and 12 minutes.

“I am very happy with this success after more than five months without competition,” Carballes Baena said afterwards. “I knew I was facing an opponent, who feels more comfortable on fast surfaces, so I tried to play solid and to stay in the rallies. I am pleased with my performance today.”

Asked what he thinks about the hygiene and safety precautions in at the clay-court event in Umbria, Carballes Baena responded: “The protocol is strictly respected. Players are tested and we feel safe, so that we can focus on tennis.”

The seven-time ATP Challenger champion will next take on compatriot Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who eased past Italian Roberto Marcora 6-3, 6-1 in 69 minutes.

“My goal is to play as many matches as possible in order to find the match rhythm quickly,” Carballes Baena said. “After the tournament here in Todi, I will leave for the United States. I will practice there for a few days and then compete in the US Open.”

Cecchinato fights past Collarini

Later in the day, No. 2 seed Marco Cecchinato stepped into action. The World No. 113 from Italy had to go the distance against last year’s L’Aquila Challenger champion Andrea Collarini of Argentina. Cecchinato won one point less than his opponent but secured a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and six minutes.

Up next for Cecchinato, who has become a father for the first time last month, will be Juan Pablo Ficovich. The 23-year-old emerged victorious from the all-Argentine affair with Marco Trungelliti, rallying 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 24 minutes.

“It is my greatest win, I can only dedicate it to my son Edoardo,” Cecchinato said, quoted by MEF Tennis Events. “I am very happy, I feel calm on the court and I really want to do well. The partnership with my coach Massimo Sartori feels good. I fight for every point and I practice at a very high level.”

Solid Hanfmann into second round

Over on Grand Stand, Yannick Hanfmann showed a solid performance against Viktor Galovic from Croatia. The No. 7 seed from Germany sent down four aces and won 76 per cent of his first-service points to prevail 6-4, 7-5  after one hour and 17 minutes.

“Winning the first match after the re-start feels good,” Hanfmann told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “It’s good to get back to tournament mode. The first days here felt a bit weird but it became better the closer we got to the start of the event.”

The 27-year-old Karlsruhe native has already got used to the strict health guidelines at tennis events, as Hanfmann returned to the courts at a pretty early stage of the pandemic. He played in an eight-man exhibition competition at the Base Tennis Academy in the tiny town of Höhr-Grenzhausen in May, which was the first tournament to be held in Germany after the coronavirus outbreak.

There is only one thing, which bothers Hanfmann, and this because of a special reason. “Everyone wears masks. That’s a bit annoying for me, as I am hard of hearing and it doesn’t allow me to read lips.” The Munich resident, who practices at the TennisBase Oberhaching, also mentioned that the regulations implemented in response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis affect the social life on the tour. “But in the end we are here to play tennis,” Hanfmann stated.

The World No. 143 will oppose Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in the second round. The 18-year-old won the battle of the wild card entries with Francesco Forti 7-6(4), 6-3 after one hour and 42 minutes.

“Musetti is a big talent,” Hanfmann said of his upcoming opponent. “I watched him playing in Dubai and he is really good. He will even improve over the next couple of years. I should beat him now, as I guess that it won’t get easier in the future.”