Cobolli Brings Local Flavor To Firenze Open

Flavio Cobolli (photo: UniCredit Firenze Open)

FLORENCE/WASHINGTON, October 9, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

While Sweden’s Mikael Ymer was the highest-ranked of four qualifiers that earned berths into the main draw of the ATP 250 UniCredit Firenze Open in Florence, Italy on Sunday, arguably the most satisfying win was turned in by Italian Flavio Cobolli.

The 20-year-old Florence-born Cobolli, who is currently ranked 159th, upset No. 4 seed Zhang Zhizhen of China, 6-4, 6-3, in his hometown. The No. 5 seed converted five of nine break points and outpointed the 126th-ranked Zhang 62-56 on Campo Centrale to advance to his first ATP main-draw event this season. Earlier this season, Cobolli won his first ATP Challenger Tour title on clay at Zadar, Croatia.

Meanwhile, the 96th-ranked Ymer, who was seeded second, rallied to beat No. 7 seed Borna Gojo of Croatia, ranked 181st, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, despite being broken three times and outpointed on his serve 56-51. However, Ymer won on total points 89-81.

Also advancing to the 28-player main draw were: No. 3 seed Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands and unseeded Altug Celikbilek of Turkey.

Van Rijthoven, ranked 113th, beat No. 410 Gianmarco Ferrari of Italy, 6-4, 7-6 (2), and the 234th-ranked Celikbilek advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Andrea Vavassori of Italy, ranked 202nd, 6-1, 6-4. On Saturday, Celikbilek eliminated No. 92 Roman Safiullin of Russia, who was the top seed among the 16-players competing in the qualifying draw.

In the main draw, Celikbilek, who was placed in No. 1 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime‘s quarter, will face 164th-ranked Italian wild card Guido Zeppieri. Cobolli will oppose No. 69 Corentin Moutet of France, and Ymer was drawn against van Rijthoven.

The top seeds in the €612,000 ATP Tour indoor hard-court event, which begins main-draw play at Palazzo Wanny on Monday, are World No. 13 Auger-Aliassime and World No. 16 Matteo Berrettini of Italy. All eight seeds are ranked in the ATP Top 50. The final will take place on Oct. 16.