Marco Cecchinato is looking to continue his good period of form in 2021 - UBITENNIS
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Marco Cecchinato is looking to continue his good period of form in 2021

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Former Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato talked about his come-back during the 2020 season after a diffcult period and the birth of his son Edoardo. 

 

Cecchinato made the history of Italian tennis at 2018 Roland Garros, when he became the first player from his country to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Corrado Barazzutti at the 1978 French Open. 

During a successful 2018 season Cecchinato reached won his first match in a Masters 1000 tournament in Monte-Carlo, claimed his maiden ATP title in Budapest and advanced to his first semifinal in a Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros after beating 2016 champion Novak Djokovic as world number 72. The Palermo-native player was then beaten by Dominic Thiem in the semifinal. He became the lowest-ranked Roland Garros semifinalist since Andrey Medvedev in 1999. He rallied from two sets down against Marius Copil in Roland Garros first round and also beat Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin en route to the semifinal. He clinched his second ATP Tour title in Umag beating Guido Pella in the final and reached the semifinal in Eastbourne. He started the 2019 season very well winning his third title in Buenos Aires beating Diego Schwartzman improving his best ranking to world number 16 and reached the semifinals in Doha and Munich, but he let two set leads slip away in the first round against Nicholas Mahut at Roland Garros.

In the next two years Cecchinato was not able to deal with the pressure and did not fulfil the expectations of Italian fans. He fell to world number in the ATP Ranking on 9 March 2019, his lowest ranking since number 136 on 8 May 2017. 

Cecchinato made a successful come-back when he snapped a 7-match tour losing streak by beating Kyle Edmund in Rome first round as qualifier. He returned to Roland Garros, where he came through the qualifying tournament en route to the third round, where he lost to Alexander Zverev. 

Last October Cecchinato saved a match point against his compatriot Gianluca Mager en route to reaching his fourth ATP Tour Final at the Sardinia Open and finished the 2020 season at number 79 in the ATP Ranking. 

“I found again the old spirit. There are many positive aspects. I feel in good shape and I have worked very hard on the court. I needed the long period without tournaments due to the pandemic to continue working hard. I have had the chance to reset. I spent many hours on the court with Max Sartori. I needed time to find the right motivation that I had lost. After reaching my career-high at world number 16 I fell outside the top 100. I got through a difficult period. People started criticising me. I suffered from this situation, but at the same time I wanted to bounce back”, said Cecchinato in an interview to Sky Sport. 

The 28-year-old Italian player has returned to his best form thanks to the advice of his coach Massimo Sartori, who also trains Andreas Seppi. 

“For me Max is the best Italian tennis coach. I trained with him when I was 17 years old and I matured as a player. I am now more solid at physical level. My son Edoardo was born this year. This has been the biggest joy of my life. Edoardo has changed my life and given me the extra motivation. I am now more relaxed. I have missed this positive feeling for a long time during 2019 and in the first part of 2020. I have improved on outdoor hard court. I think that this will help me improve on clay ”. 

With his semifinal at Roland Garros Cecchinato inspired other Italian players. Matteo Berrettini reached the semifinal at the 2019 US Open. Fabio Fognini won the Monte-Carlo title in 2019. Jannik Sinner won the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in 2019 and his first ATP title in Sofia last November. 

“The golden period of Italian tennis started with my semifinal at Roland Garros. I am pleased to hear from many players and coaches that I was an inspiration for other players. There are now many Italian good players. We push each other and this has helped the growth of Italian tennis. Matteo Berrettini achieved an incredible result when he qualified for the ATP Finals. This great result has inspired other Italian players”. 

Cecchinato will start his 2021 season at the ATP 250 in Melbourne one week before the Australian Open. 

“For 2021 I don’t set any goals, but I would like to play 70-80 matches with the same positive energy I had during the final part of 2020”

Max Sartori is happy with Cecchinato’s season in 2020. 

“Marco played very well in Rome. After reaching the quarter final in a Challenger tournament in France he came through three qualifying rounds before beating Kyle Edmund. It was a very important match for him. After Rome he reached the main draw at Roland Garros after playing three qualifying matches. He also qualified at Paris Bercy”. 

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Rafael Nadal outlasts Jannik Sinner in Rome

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Nine-time Rome Masters 1000 champion Rafael Nadal broke serve five times to beat Jannik Sinner 7-5 6-4 at the Foro Italico in the eagerly awaited last match of the third evening of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. 

 

Sinner took an early lead in each set, but Nadal fought back both times to take the win in 2 hours and 10 minutes. 

Sinner earned a break in the first game with a forehand down the line winner. Nadal pulled the break back in the second game. Sinner got another break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead with a volley winner, but Nadal broke straight back to draw level to 3-3 after a forehand error from Sinner. 

Sinner saved three straight set points, as he was serving at 4-5 and won the game with a service winner. Nadal converted his seventh set point at 6-5 to close out the first set with his forehand. 

Sinner went up a break in the third game to open up a 4-2 lead, but Nadal won four consecutive games. 

The Spaniard held at 15 in the seventh game and won four consecutive points on return in the eighth game to break back for 4-4. 

Nadal converted his fourth match point with a forehand down the line winner to seal the second set 6-4. 

Nadal will face a third round match against Denis Shapovalov, who beat Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Nadal leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Shapovalov and won their only previous clash on clay in Rome in 2018.  

The Spaniard beat a Next Gen star for the second consecutive week after claiming a straight-set win over Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid. 

“I was playing great in Madrid. There were a couple of bad games against Alexander Zverev in the quarter finals. Everything went wrong after that, despite the fact I looked good on the practice court. We have to adapt to different conditions, as they are entirely diffferent from Madrid. Jannik is one of the best players I could drawn. He is very young, and he improves his game every day. His ranking position is only getting better, and he plays with a lot of confidence. He played great in Miami to reach the final”, said Nadal. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Watchdog Files Complaint To Government Over Prize Money Discrepancies At Italian Open

The tournament has been accused of ‘an unacceptable pay gap’ by one of the countries leading independent agencies.

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A leading consumer watchdog in Italy has hit out at their biggest tennis tournament over what they say is unfair differences in pay between male and female players.

 

Codacons has issued a press release confirming they have filed an official complaint to the Department for Equal Opportunities (Presidency of the Council of Ministers). The political Authority directly in charge of gender equality and equal opportunities policies in Italy which are made up by a series of politicians from various parties. The move has been triggered by a report in national newspaper La Repubblica which notes that the prize money pool in the men’s draw is significantly more than the women’s.

The Internazionali d’Italia would be the only tennis tournament among the Masters 1000 of 2021 with an inequality in pay based exclusively on the sex of the players,’ Carlo Rienzi, president of Codacons, said in a statement.
“Based on what La Repubblica reported today to the winner of the prestigious event would be entitled to a higher remuneration of 37% compared to the winner of the women’s draw.’
“Analyzing the prizes up for grabs for the other rounds (eighths, quarters, semifinals and final) it turns out that the remuneration reserved for the players is significantly lower than those paid to male athletes.”

This year’s Italian Open is categorised as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a WTA 1000 for the women. In each round play the prize money available is significantly higher for male than female players. For example the differences in the first round are €12,000 against €8670. This year’s men’s champion will take home more than €65,000 more than their female counterpart.

“An unacceptable gender pay gap in 2021, which causes blatant discrimination to the detriment of women, and which today leads Codacons to denounce the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to the Equal Opportunities Commission for discrimination gender,” Rienzi concluded.

Whilst the Italian Open is a mixed tournament, both of the Tour’s have their own governing body with their own guidelines regarding prize money. Explaining why this difference has occurred. It is for this reason why there is also a difference in points on offer to players.

There has been no comment from the Italian Open, WTA or the ATP in regard to Codacons’ complaint.

2021 Italian Open: Men Vs Women

Prize Money

MenWomen
Winner245,085178,630
Runner-up145,000132,258
SF82,30070,161
QF54,10033,486
R328,20016,935
R218,00010,726
R112,0008670

Points

MenWomen
Winner1000900
Runner-up600585
SF360350
QF180190
R390105
R24560
R1101

Note: info via atptour.com and wtatennis.com

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