Nardi, Giannessi and Zeppieri in the quarters

Flavio Cobolli wins his first career trophy at Challenger 80 from Zadar (outdoor clay), beating very clearly (6-4 6-2) the Polish Daniel Michalski (# 337 ATP) who, coming from the qualifiers, had taken advantage of the debacle of the favorites at the top of the board, starting with our Mager and Agamenone.

The Roman hoped that the final result was different from the previous two (Rome and Barletta 2021) where he was defeated in the decisive match respectively by Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Giulio Zeppieri. And so it was because the 20-year-old blue, net of some small initial difficulties (he found himself under 4-1 in the first set), kept his concentration high throughout the match, letting the obvious technical gap make the rest. “I started a bit tense, as I was facing the final as a favorite. But after reducing the distance at 4-2, everything changed ”commented Flavio at the end of the match. Decisive was the flurry of six consecutive games that allowed him to recover the disadvantage, to bring home the first set and to launch the escape in the second. Escape apparently canceled, but at 2-2 came another series of four consecutive games that ended the contest in less than an hour and a half. For the Italian, as we said, his first Challenger title in his career and a new best ranking at n.145 ATP. We think it is safe to say that the top 100 is now within reach.

In Zara he also raised a trophy Andrea Vavassori who wins the double, paired with the Czech Zdenek Kolar, beating Agamenone / Guinard by a score of 3-6 7-6 (7) 10-6. A throbbing game because in the tie-break of the second set Vavassori and Kolar had to face four match points, three of which on the service of their opponents. Having been saved with skill and with a bit of luck, they won the set at the earliest opportunity, with the most classic counter-attack. The tie-break match was initially without history as Agamenone / Guinard, in the throes of understandable despondency, went down 6-1 and appeared to have abandoned the game. Nothing could be more wrong because they managed to return to 6-7, forcing Vavassori / Kolar to the last and decisive acceleration. For the blue it is the tenth Challenger victory in his career in doubles, which however is not enough for him to make great progress in the ranking where he should remain around the 72nd position. In this regard, Andrea told us: “By now, when you are in the top 100, Challengers help you keep your ranking but hardly make you progress. But it is important to win matches of this type to gain confidence. And in April I’m supposed to be teaming up with Dustin Brown again [con cui nel finale della scorsa stagione vinse due tornei, ndr]”.

At the Challenger 90 in Lille (indoor concrete) the final between Ricardas Berankis (n.87 ATP) and Quentin Halys (# 115 ATP), that is the first two seeds, was long and exciting. In the end the host Halys prevailed with a score of 4-6 7-6 (4) 6-4. The 31-year-old Lithuanian starts well and immediately breaks the serve, gaining a decisive advantage because he will later be good at cutting back on Halys’ six break points. But the Frenchman is too fit to be intimidated by a false start and manages to bring the second set to the tie-break which wins quite easily. In the third set, immediate break for Halys who goes on the run and from that moment on he just needs to defend the advantage (with his 20 aces it’s not even too difficult) to bring home the game. For the 25-year-old native of Bondy (Department of the Seine, Ile de France) it is the fifth Challenger victory in his career that brings him back close to the top 100, precisely at n.105, only three positions from his best.

At the Challenger 80 in Biel (Switzerland, indoor hard) the Austrian southpaw wins Jurij Rodionov (# 201 ATP) who beats the Pole 7-6 (3) 6-4 Kapcer Zuk (n.212 ATP) at the end of a hard-fought match in which, however, Zuk, despite the very balanced score, never had a real chance to take the game home. In fact, he didn’t even have a break point, while Rodionov made the most of those he had in the tenth game of the second set. For the 22-year-old Austrian it is the fourth Challenger success in his career (Almaty 2018, Dallas and Cuernavaca 2020 the precedents) which allows him to go back to the n.162 ATP, just thirty positions from his best.

Leave a Comment