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Gianluca Naso, Nastassja Burnett and Marco Cecchinato were Italian heroes on the first day of qualifying at Foro Italico.
228th ranked Naso’s victory over Matthew Ebden on home soil was the third biggest win of his career by ranking position. Australian Ebden, the world’s No.70 was well beaten 6-3 6-0 in front of Court 1.
The promising results continued for the home crowd when they saw highly regarded Nastassja Burnett (pictured) come from a set down to beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
Italian support flocked to Supertennis Arena later in the day but they saw their man Simone Bolelli beaten in straight sets by Sam Querry. Matteo Viola also crashed out to Xavier Malisse to dampen home spirits.
However Cecchinato ranked 511th in the world caused a sensational late-evening stir when he knocked out Japanese World No.59 Go Soeda, winning 6-3 in the final set.
Argentina’s Gisela Dulko and Carla Suarez Navarro had previously wowed the Supertennis Arena spectators with a three set match that saw the former prevail 6-2 in the final set. Earlier Sloane Stephens had triumphed 7-5, 7-5 against the flamboyantly dressed Bethanie Mattek-Sanders in the all-American tie.
There was plenty of tennis throughout the day for fans to enjoy on another hot day in Rome. Sunday sees the second and final day of qualifying and also the start of the first round proper.