Goffin Battles Past Cecchinato in Rome
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.