Gaio Gains Confidence At Gran Canaria Challenger

Federico Gaio (photo: Marta Magni/MEF Tennis Events)

GRAN CANARIA, March 1, 2021

The Gran Canaria Challenger 2, the second week of back-to-back clay-court ATP Challenger tournaments at the Club de Campo El Cortijo, kicked off on a sunny Monday in Telde, Gran Canaria. No. 2 seed Federico Gaio opened his his title bid with a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2 win over Spanish alternate Javier Barranco Cosano.

The World No. 138 from Italy sent down six aces and won 67 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in two hours and 20 minutes.

“It wasn’t an easy match in difficult conditions with a lot of wind. The first set was okay but improved my game in the second and third,” said Gaio, who lost in the first round of last week’s Gran Canaria Challenger I to Blaz Kavcic. “I came from Italy, playing indoors on a fast surface and needed some time to adapt to the conditions here but now I have gained some confidence.”

Over the years, the 28-year-old Faenza native has hardly ever skipped on of the tournaments organized by MEF Tennis Events from Italy: “It’s not easy to organize an event away from your own country, but I think they have passed the test. I would not be surprised to see more of their tournaments scheduled in Spain in the future,” said Gaio, who will next oppose either Constant Lestienne of France or 19-year-old Spanish wild card entry Carlos Gimeno Valero.


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In other action in the bottom half of the draw, Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo, another local wild card, rallied past Italian Andrea Pellegrino 5-7, 7-5, 6-3. The 21-year-old from Barcelona broke his opponent’s serve five times to prevail after two hours and 24 minutes. Sanchez Izquierdo awaits the winner of the match between US-American qualifier Emilio Nava and No. 6 seed Alessandro Giannessi from Italy in the second round.

Blaz Kavcic from Slovenia defeated Michael Vrbensky from the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 to face Riccardo Bonadio next. The 27-year-old Italian benefited from the retirement of No. 4 seed Danilo Petrovic of Serbia due to a right shoulder injury leading 5-2 in the opening set.

Coppejans advances

In the top half of the draw, Kimmer Coppejans has booked his spot in the second round. The No. 8 seed from Belgium edged past Goncalo Oliveira of Portugal 7-5, 7-6(2) after exactly two hours of play. Coppejans will next play either Spanish youngster Nicola Kuhn or last week’s runner-up Steven Diez of Canada.

The field is led by 17-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. The World No. 127 from Murcia, accompanied by former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, will face Italian Stefano Napolitano in the opening match.

Gran Canaria Challenger II – Monday Results

Main Draw – First Round

Blaz Kavcic b. Michael Vrbensky 6-4 6-4
Federico Gaio b. Javier Barranco Cosano 6-7(3) 6-2 6-2
Riccardo Bonadio b. Danilo Petrovic 5-2 ret.

Qualifying – Final Round

Giulio Zeppieri b. Alex Marti Pujolras 6-3 2-6 7-6(2)
Eduard Esteve Lobato b. Sandro Ehrat 6-3 2-6 7-6(3)
Filip Cristian Jianu b. Sadio Doumbia 6-2 6-3
Emilio Nava b. Pol Toledo Bague 6-1 3-6 6-4