Upsets continued on the middle Sunday of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on the ATP Masters 1000 draw. Finally under a blue sky and with plenty adoring fans filling the Foro Italico, there was no shortage of emotional matches, surprises and quality.
Marco Cecchinato opened the day on the Grand Stand Arena and against the 21st seed, Roberto Bautista Agut, he put together one of the best performances of his recent years. The Italian fired 30 winners in just two short sets to give no chance to his opponent. Cecchinato, who is a former Roland Garros semifinalist, exploited the heavy courts to set up his shots at best, especially his one-handed backhand. The double 6-2 was worth a place in the third round where he will find German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann who shocked 9th Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-1.
No problems for Stefanos Tsitsipas whose match against Nuno Borges resumed after rain had forced a night sleep on 4-3 for him. The Greek did not want to waste any unnecessary time and came on court fully focused, winning the two games he needed to wrap his victory 6-4 6-3.
3rd seed Daniil Medvedev also won his first match in this edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, but the 6-4 6-2 victory over Emil Ruusuvuori was a much more difficult test than the score suggested. The Finn started the match strong and took an early break lead, being not too far from a second break on 3-1. Medvedev showed his improvement on the surface and fought back and gave a great show to the huge crowd that packed every centimetre of Pietrangeli to assist to his match.
Holger Rune also advanced to the 4th round comfortably putting an end to the run of Fabio Fognini. The young Dane found himself in troubles only while attempting to close the first set, when the Italian tried a comeback with the help of the crowd. 6-4 6-2 the score in favour of the 7th seed.
As the day progressed, some more dramatic matches entertained the public in Rome: Novak Djokovic came on top of a roller-coaster of a match against Grigor Dimitrov, while Casper Ruud needed a 3rd set tiebreak to get past Alexander Bublik. The 4th seed cruised through the first set with a convincing 6-1, but things got tighter in the second set and Bublik got the public behind him with some spectacular shots and risky tactics. By breaking Ruud for the first time on set point, the Kazakh forced a decider. Both held comfortably until the tiebreak were the Norwegian’s solid game was key for a one-sided 7-0 including a smashed racket by Bublik.