On the first Sunday of the 2021 edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, four first round matches took place, all on the ATP tournament. With three top 20 players already taking the courts of the Foro Italico, quality tennis was provided from the get-going of this 78th edition.
The first match of the day, and of the tournament, had promised a great show and it did not fail to provide it: Felix Auger-Aliassime took on Filip Krajinovic and the result was an almost three-hour fight. After an early lead by the Serbian player, the world number 20 started dictating with his forehand and comfortably took the first set 6-3. Right when things seemed completely in control for the Canadian, he got broken while serving for the match in the second set and eventually surrendered it at the tiebreak with a double fault and an unforced error.
A series of breaks signed the nervous start of the third set, then Krajinovic finally seemed to be finding his chance in the 7th game, instead it was Auger-Aliassime to take a substantial lead and serve for the match again on 5-3. Just like in the second set, the Canadian hesitated and his rival broke back, but this time his reaction was sudden. On 5-4, the 20-year-old raised his return game and broke to seal the victory 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4.
The second match was almost as dramatic: Pablo Carreno Busta recovered from a set down and some lower back problems to take the win over Laslo Djere. The Spaniard suffered for the first half of the match, but as the match went by, he managed to relax and play a more fluid tennis. In the second set, en-route to turning the match around, he hit no unforced errors, tiring his opponent out physically and mentally. 4-6 6-3 6-1 the final result for the Spanish player.
The remaining two matches of the day were not as close, and both were decided in two sets. Richard Gasquet experienced a nightmare first 20 minutes of his debut in Rome as that was the time Reilly Opelka needed to close it 6-1 to his favour. In the second set, the Frenchman managed to find a way to stem the power of the American, but it was not enough and Opelka advanced to the second round.
Little luck also for the first Italian to play on home soil in this edition of the Internazionali, as Salvatore Caruso could not do much to overturn the odds that had David Goffin as the favourite. The Belgian struggled on serve early on in the match, but after sealing the first set with a magnificent backhand down the line, all momentum shifted, and the match quickly took its way to the final 6-4 6-1.
Tomorrow’s program will feature the start of the WTA main draw and plenty interesting matches will take place, so do not miss them, also thanks to our Live Blog.