H. Rune b. (Q) F. Passaro 6-1 2-6 6-4
The title of the Sanremo Challenger went to the favorite, the most awaited man, the one with the best ranking, the ruler of this week. It certainly cannot be said, however, that Holger Rune triumphed in the carriage and, for this reason, a big applause goes to the surprise finalist, the Italian outsider Francesco Passaro. That has reacted very well after badly losing the first set. That is gone a whisker to win even the third, after a second set clearly won. Which unfortunately did not make it but, at this rate, it will certainly not delay the first victory in a Challenger for long.
THE MATCH – Rune starts with the underdogs and immediately sets his pace, trying to shorten exchanges it just gets a chance. The fact that a few hours later the Danish next gen will be back in the field a weighs heavily Montecarlo against Radu Albot, in the first round match of the qualifiers at Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (which during the day saw the victory of Flavio Cobolli, who was also busy traveling the Franco-Ligurian coast to play the Challenger doubles final). From the need for shorten the times perhaps the different damps are born, especially in the first part, with which Rune often surprises Passaro, who begins the most important match of his young career understandably a little contract. The games are still very hard-fought, but the Dane’s dropshots always arrive at the right time and immediately throw him at 4-0, which quickly turns into a 6-1 in some ways liar, but in which Rune has won all important points.
Out of nowhere, however, the game changes. The 2003 in Copenhagen commits four free tickets in a row and loses the service at the start of the second set. Passaro is unable to hold his next turn of service, but he feels that something has actually changed in the feelings of the two players. Passaro finally dissolves, begins to find deeper strokes and Rune looks stunned. The fourth – very hard-fought – game definitively marks the outcome of the third set. The class of 2001 light blue saves two break points (the first in a sensational way, complete with compliments from Rune) and climbs 3-1. The world’s number 91 is in the balloon, he finds no way to oppose Passaro’s vehemence who has the command of each point. Not even in the short ball Rune can find a refuge and, with some higher and more worked ball, the Perugian wins 6-2 the second set.
At the start of the third set the fight becomes very tight, especially in the first rounds of the Dane. And on 2-2 the first a surrender it’s him, missing a bloody forehand on the breakball e sending Passaro forward in the score. “Ciccio”, as he is affectionately addressed by the stands, fights strenuously on every point and seems to have the match controlso much so that it gets to have an advantage of 4-2 30-40, with an opportunity to get the double break and serve for the match. Here, however, a Rune in great tennis and physical difficulty pulls the rabbit out of the hat, finding two big setbacks along the line and holding on to the match. It is the turning point of the final, because in the eighth game Passaro loses the serve at 15, goes down 4-5 and is no longer able to get back on top. Ends 6-1 2-6 6-4 in favor of the number one seed Holger Runewhich from tomorrow will enter for the first time in his career among the first eighty players in the world (in 79th place) and who, shortly after, will take the field again in Montecarlo.
To our microphones, the Sanremo champion was obviously happy for the victory, but also a little worried about the short time between one match and another. “First of all, I want to congratulate Francesco on his incredible tournament. I was not feeling well today, I slept badly but I managed to win anyway and, in the end, that’s what matters. The back is fine, I’m not bad. I have no particular pains, I just feel tired because, as mentioned, I did not sleep well. I was also a little nervous why I have another match to play shortly and because this was a final anyway. He (Passaro, ed) he had nothing to lose, he was free from the pressures that were all upon me. I don’t know what it will be like to play these two matches, one after the other: I’ve never tried! It will surely be tough, him (Albot, ed) Sara full of energy while I won’t be 100% exactly, but it doesn’t matter. However, I will give my best“.
Regretful for the defeat but clearly satisfied for the great tournament played Francesco Passarowho commented on his fantastic week, which began with qualifying: “Earlier this week I never expected to get where I am. I am more than satisfied with my game, even if today I had a few opportunities that I was unable to take advantage of. I am anyway very confident for the future. Next week I will be on the field in Barletta, where I am in the main draw thanks to a wild card granted to me by the FIT, which I want to take advantage of to thank. I want to play as many games as possible e raise the level more and more. Climb up the rankings (from tomorrow it will be number 354 ATP, his best rankinged) it will only be a consequence of a path we are following, of which I am extremely satisfied “.
UPDATE AT 18.30 – For Holger Rune it was a perfect Saturday. After the victory of the Challenger of Sanremo, in fact, the young Dane had the necessary strength to overcome the first qualifying round in Montecarlo. And also in ease: 6-2 6-3 trimmed to Radu Albot in an hour and nine minutes. Practice done quickly and now an evening of well-deserved rest for Holger, who will challenge Maxime Cressy in the decisive turn.