Rome Masters sees youngsters battle ATP Tour veterans across heated Thursday

Emil Ruusuvuori

Thursday’s singles action at the Rome Masters saw the theme of young guns taking on tour veterans repeated.

While Emil Ruusuvuori twice came back from the brink of defeat before downing French journeyman Ugo Humbert 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6), the Rome crowd couldn’t cheer Italian hope Luca Nardi into the second round.

Instead two-time Rome quarter-finalist Goffin prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 over Nardi.

“I was a little bit tight at the beginning of the match and he was playing well,” Goffin refelected after the match.

“He didn’t leave me any [chances] in the first set and at the beginning of the second. It was a few points that made the difference, because he had the break, and I was really close to coming back in some long games.”

Earlier this week the former world No 7 Goffin fell out of the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time since July 2014, having struggled with consistency and fitness this year.

The 32-year-old was happy with how he pushed deep to win his first Masters 1000 title of 2023, having also been close to defeat.

“If it would have been [6-3, 6-4] for him, it would have been, ‘OK, congrats’, but I had to fight and I won a few important points in the second to turn it around,” said Goffin.

“After that I started to play even better and he was a little bit mentally down. I started to play more in the third, so I’m very happy I managed to win this one.”

Ruusuvuori survived two match points on his way to a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) victory over Humbert at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome. Despite Humbert enjoying those match points on serve on both occasions, Ruusuvuori held off the first at 4-5, 40/30 in the third set before escaping after going behind to the Frenchman 5/6 in the final set tie-break.

The Finn dug deep to win a tense three-hour match in which both players broke their opponent’s serve five times to earn a second-round match against third seed Daniil Medvedev. The World No 43 is currently 15-12 on the season, including a Masters 1000 quarter-final appearance in Miami in March.

Also on a busy Thursday, Albert Ramos-Vinolas required three sets to secure his passage to the second round in another intergenerational match. The Spaniard survived five of seven break points to defeat home wild card Francesco Passaro 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and advance to the second round of the Rome Open for the seventh time. He will face a difficult battle to match his personal-best run to the third round at the Foro Italico in 2018, as he next meets his countryman and second seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Lorenzo Sonego, who turned 28 years old on Thursday, became the sixth Italian to advance to the second round in Rome. The world No 48, who advanced to the quarterfinals of his home event in 2021, defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-1. Yoshihito Nishioka, the 25th seed in Rome, will be his next opponent.

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Italian Open men’s singles results

1st rd

Guido Pella (ARG) bt Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-3, 6-4

Marco Cecchinato (ITA) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3, 7-5

Yannick Hanfmann (GER) bt Nicolas Jarry (CHI) 6-4, 6-4

J.J. Wolf (USA) bt Hugo Grenier (FRA) 7-5, 7-5

David Goffin (BEL) bt Luca Nardi (ITA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2

Jason Kubler (AUS) bt Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2

Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6)

Nuno Borges (POR) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-4, 6-1

Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-2, 6-1

Daniel Altmaier (GER) bt Giulio Zeppieri (ITA) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-0

Thiago Monteiro (BRA) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-1, 6-2

Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) bt Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-2, 6-3

Fabian Marozsan (HUN) bt Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-0, 6-7 (8/10), 6-2

Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) bt Francesco Passaro (ITA) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4