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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Pablo Carreno Busta beats Mikael Ymer in Metz

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Second seed Pablo Carreno Busta beat Mikael Ymer 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 52 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Moselle Open

 

Carreno Busta set up a quarter final match against Danish Next Gen Holger Rune, who battled past Lorenzo Sonego 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4 after 2 hours and 40 minutes. 

Lucas Pouille rallied from one set down to beat Brayden Schnur 3-6 6-4 6-4 in 1 hour and 59 minutes. 

Peter Gojowczyk battle past lucky loser Antoine Hoang 6-2 3-6 6-4. Gojowczyk also beat Hoang in three sets in the final round of qualifying. 

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John Millman beats Jaume Munar in three sets in Nur Sultan

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John Millman battled past Jame Munar 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 after 3 hours and 9 minutes to advance to the quarter finals in Nur Sultan. 

 

“These long matches are not good in my age, I tell you !. It was such a physical battle out there. It was such a physical battle out there. I thought the level was extremely good. I thought I improved from yesterday in terms of how I was playing: Munari s a tough competitor. His body probably let him down a little bit towards the end. I have got to tell you, my body wasn’t feeling all that great, either. It was such a physical match and just so happy to extend my stay here”, said Millman.

Laslo Djere overcame Lorenzo Musetti 6-4 6-7 (3-7) after 2 hours and 48 minutes. Djere will face either Dusan Lajovic or Soonwoo Kwon. Ilya Ivashka beat wildcard Timofey Skatov 6-2 6-3. Carlos Taberner knocked out Ricardas Berankis 7-5 6-4. 

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Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova in Ostrava advance to the quarter finals

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Last year’s Roland Garros Iga Swiatek beat Yulia Putintseva 6-4 6-4 in 1 hour and 47 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the J&T Open in Ostrava. 

 

Swiatek, who was playing the second indoor WTA main draw of her career after Budapest 2019, faced Putuntseva for the first time in her career. Putintseva reached the semifinal in Portoroz last week and overcame Zhang Shuai after 3 hours and 24 minutes. 

Putintseva went down 0-3 in the first set, but she broke back to draw level to 3-3. Swiatek reeled off the last eight points of the first set to win the first set. 

Swiatek missed three break points to break Putintseva at 4-4 in the second set. The Pole saved two break points with her fourth ace and a series of backhand errors. Swiatek broke serve at love in the ninth game with two consecutive backhands to win the second set 6-4. 

“It was very tough. She was running to every ball. It was really hard. It was really hard to finish her, especially with such a slow surface. She could reach everything and she was fighting to the end. Even on match point I had to finish her three times. I am really happy that I won. It’s really hard for me to play against such players. I like to risk and with risking comes unforced errors, so it’s tough to get the balance between when to push and when to stay and wait for the opponent to miss”, said Swiatek. 

Petra Kvitova edged past Anastasia Potapova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3. Kvitova raced out to a 6-1 4-2 lead, but Potapova won three consecutive games with a break-back to love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Kvitova had to save two break points in the 10th game. Kvitova rallied from 0-3 to draw level to 3-3 in the tie-break, but Potapova took the breaker 7-4. 

Potapova got an early break in the third game, but Kvitova broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Kvitova converted her second break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

Jelena Ostapenko, who finished runne-up to Clara Tauson in Luxembourg last Sunday, cruised past lucky loser Clara Tauson 6-4 6-0 in 66 minutes. 

US Alison Riske rallied from 1-3 down in the third set before beating Fiona Ferro 6-4 1-6 6-4 after 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

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