Gof­fin Bat­tles Past Cecchi­nato in Rome

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

ROME (Dis­patches) - Bel­gian David Gof­fin was pushed to three sets by Marco Cecchi­nato in the sec­ond round of the Ital­ian Open on Tues­day be­fore bounc­ing back to beat the Ital­ian wild card 5-7 6-2 6-2 on a rain-in­ter­rupted day in Rome.

Gof­fin, the ninth seed, got off to a strong start, getting an early break and open­ing up a 5-1 lead in the first set be­fore abruptly los­ing mo­men­tum and sur­ren­der­ing the next six games in a row to con­cede the opener tamely.

The 27-year-old re­dis­cov­ered his touch in the sec­ond set, getting two early breaks of serve as Cecchi­nato’s con­fi­dence eroded and he ran away with the de­cider be­fore seal­ing vic­tory on his sec­ond match point with a siz­zling cross­court fore­hand. Gof­fin will meet ei­ther big-serv­ing Ar­gen­tine Juan Martin del Potro or young Greek sen­sa­tion Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas in the next round.

Tsit­si­pas, 19, pro­gressed af­ter his first-round op­po­nent Borna Coric re­tired hurt while 4-1 down in the first set.

Un­seeded De­nis Shapo­valov stunned 15th-seed To­mas Berdych in the first round, with the 19-yearold’s 1-6 6-3 7-6(5) vic­tory en­sur­ing he will be­come the top-ranked Cana­dian in the world when the re­vised ATP rankings are re­leased on Mon­day.

“I’m a lit­tle bit in shock,” Shapo­valov said af­ter be­ing in­formed he would leapfrog com­pa­triot and for­mer world num­ber three Mi­los Raonic in the rankings.

Shapo­valov will meet Dutch­man Robin Haase in the sec­ond round. Ar­gen­tine Diego Schwartz­man, the 14th seed, ad­vanced to the sec­ond round af­ter a reg­u­la­tion 6-4 6-1 vic­tory over Chilean qual­i­fier Ni­co­las Jarry, while Spa­niard Fer­nando Ver­dasco was beaten 6-3 6-1 by Bos­nia’s Damir Dzumhur.

In women’s event, de­fend­ing cham­pion Elina Svi­tolina eased into the third round of the WTA Ital­ian Open on Tues­day as three-time win­ner Maria Shara­pova needed a marathon three sets to get past Aus­tralian Ash­leigh Barty.

Svi­tolina, the fourth seed, re­ceived a first round bye and dropped just three games in a dom­i­nant 6-1, 6-2 vic­tory over 35th-ranked Pe­tra Mar­tic.

The 23-year-old Ukrainian won the big­gest clay court ti­tle of her ca­reer last year at the Foro Ital­ico. And she con­tin­ued where she left off de­spite the rainy con­di­tions, needing just over an hour to peg back her Croa­t­ian ri­val. By con­trast, Shara­pova needed two and a half hours to mas­ter 18th-ranked Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in their first round match.

Shara­pova’s vic­tory, her 34th on clay in the Ital­ian cap­i­tal, came in her first meet­ing with Barty, who was mak­ing her Rome de­but.

Barty pushed the five-time Grand Slam win­ner to a third set as she did against Aus­tralian Open cham­pion Caro­line Woz­ni­acki last week in Madrid.

The game swung the Rus­sian’s di­rec­tion in the fi­nal set when Shara­pova held serve in a cru­cial 1-1 game from 0-40 down af­ter hav­ing failed to con­vert three break points in the pre­vi­ous game. Barty, ranked 18, saved two match points in the fi­nal game against the 2011, 2012 and 2015 win­ner but two un­forced er­rors in a row handed Shara­pova a sec­ond round berth.

Shara­pova next meets Do­minika Cibulkova in the sec­ond round. The pair have not played each other since the Slo­vak won in the fourth round of the 2014 Aus­tralian Open on her way to the fi­nal.

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