Napolitano is Italy0s last chance at Italian open. Pictured tennis court and crowd

Napolitano – Italy’s last chance at Italian Open

News Sport

It was always going to be a tough day for Italian players in the singles yesterday. Darderi and Passaro were up against some of the world’s top players. Napolitano plays today.

23-year-old Francesco Passaro from Perugia, who qualified for the main draw and knocked out the no.23 seed in the previous round, found the world no.53 Nuno Borges one battle too many.

The tie-break, which has been a friend of Passaro in this tournament, ultimately proved his undoing. After three hours and seven minutes, he bowed out of the Italian Open, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7. Francesco had a match point at 7 points to 6 in the second set tie-break, a point well played by Borges. Then in the third set tie-break he committed two double faults which cost him the match.

“It wasn’t easy on a physical and mental level; I’ve come from tough matches” says Passaro after the match. “I’m happy with how I faced the difficult moments of the match, even the tie-breaks, I have nothing to complain about except the double faults in the decisive one.

“Everything turns, you have to fight and always believe in it, I’m happy not only with the tournament in general but also with today’s match. I was a bit tired at the end, it was the fifth match for me, all a lot of fighting. The fatigue and tiredness were there but I have to admit that he was more aggressive.

“After the 3-all in the tie-break I committed two double faults, he is more used to playing this type of match. I will have to work and try to be more aggressive.”

Darderi succumbs to no.3 Zverev

Alexander Zverev has never lost to a player outside the top 30 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Luciano Darderi, number 54 in the world tried hard to interrupt that run and for a set he was playing well enough to do so.

In the first set, Darderi moved well, with deep shots and hard erves, which put Zverev on the back foot. However, in the tie-break, his shot choices let him down with the German taking the game 7-3.

The second set saw Zverev settle into the game and Darderi lose some of his rhythm. If the Italian had managed to get the break he threatened in the seventh game, there may have been a different outcome. As it was, the no.3 seed took the match, 7-6, 6-2. Zverev will meet Passaro’s vanquisher in the next round.

Napolitano up against Jarry

Today, Stefano Napolitano takes on the no.21 seed, and vanquisher of Arnaldi, on the Grand Stand Arena. The third match on the court, wild card Napolitano will have to play out of his skin to make it through to the next round.

Ranked 125 in the world, Napolitano has beaten two lucky losers in the tournament so far. This is his first real test, and up against a player ranked 101 places above him.

In bocca al lupo!

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