FRANCAVILLA AL MARE/STARNBERG, May 18, 2022
The ATP Challenger Tour has returned to Italy with the fourth edition of the Challenger Francavilla al Mare, situated in the Abruzzo region on the east coast of the country. Two home grown winners have emerged, with Gianluigi Quinzi in 2018 and Stefano Travaglia in 2019. 2013 Wimbledon boys’ champion Quinzi retired from professional tennis at the age of 25 in July last year and serves as the tournament director this week.
The €32,160 clay-court event is being held at the Circolo Tennis Francavilla al Mare Sporting Club and World No. 264 Mate Valkusz from Hungary is the highest-ranked player in the singles draw. The No. 2 seed reached the second round on Monday, as Valkusz benefited from the retirement of Spaniard Carlos Gimeno Valero leading 6-3, 5-2.
In the top half of the draw, World No. 242 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran from the United States was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness. As a consequence, local wild card entry Francesco Maestrelli and No. 9 seed Oleksii Krutykh from Ukraine earned the top spots with the 19-year-old Italian battling his way into the second round. Maestrelli outlasted Krutykh 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and two minutes on Tuesday. Maestrelli will next take on Briton Billy Harris, who rallied past Matteo Martineau of France 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1).
Riccardo Balzerani won the encounter between two lucky loser beating Tristan Schoolgate of Australia 6-4, 6-2. The 23-yaer-old Italian will next face No. 5 seed Alexis Galerneau of Canada. Third-seeded Brazilian Daniel Dutra da Silva opened his title bid with a solid 6-2, 6-4 win over French qualifier Arthur Reymond and will oppose Alex Rybakov from the United States in the second round. Further seeds, who advanced include fourth favourite Matteo Arnaldi of Italy, sixth-seeded Argentine Hernan Casanova and No. 7 seed Mathias Bourgue of France.
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