Mannarino survives qualifying scare

Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

This content was published 7 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

No. 2 seed Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Monte Carlo last month, was pushed to the wire by world No. 196 Salvatore Caruso in his first round qualifying match on Saturday. The Italian wild card had the packed crowd in raptures as he led the Frenchman 3-1 in the third set but was unable to close out the match and eventually fell to a 46 64 75 defeat in two hours 34 minutes.

The home side didn’t have much luck on the opening day of qualifying with Caruso one of nine Italians to fall at the first hurdle. The only Italian player to win his match on Saturday was Andrea Arnaboldi, who gave the fans something to cheer about when he battled past Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos 60 57 76(2).

Ashleigh Barty took a step closer to making her debut at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia when she knocked out No. 10 seed Zheng Shuai in her first qualifying match. The 21-year-old Australian, who was ranked 16 places lower than her Chinese opponent, needed an hour and 43 minutes to defeat Zheng 26 61 61 and will need to record another upset win on Sunday if she is to secure a place in the main draw.

Barty’s opponent in the next round will be No. 2 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who needed three sets to defeat wild card Alberta Brianti. The Latvian has produced some notable results on clay recently, including reaching the final at the Charleston Open.

Mona Barthel only dropped two games as she cruised past Greece’s Maria Sakkari 62 60 in just over an hour. The German has form on clay having won two titles on the surface, one of which came at the Prague Open earlier this month. Her next round opponent, No. 9 seed Varvara Lepchenko, was another player on flying form at the Foro Italico, overcoming Kateryna Bondarenko 60 62.

Top seeds Daria Gavrilova and Jan-Lennard Struff advanced to the final qualifying round after they defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Taro Daniel respectively. Gavrilova was made to work hard for her win, battling to a 62 46 62 victory over the Belarusian to set up a clash against Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who go the better of Tsvetana Pironkova. Struff had a much more straightforward route to victory, defeating his Japanese opponent in under an hour for the loss of just three games.

The highest seed to tumble was Lara Arruabarrena who was knocked out by Croatia’s Donna Vekic. The Spanish No. 5 seed, who reached the 3rd round in Madrid last week, looked tired as she succumbed to a 62 64 defeat.

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