First time for me at Bergamo Challenger and I have to say that both venues (Bergamo and Alzano) are quite good: tournament has a lot of sponsors and the entrance is free.
The public is very educated, Bergamo has a quite long tradition (10 years) in organizing this tournament, so the umpires never need to ask the public to be quiet or not to use flash cameras.
Before coming here I read about courts being super fast: honestly the bounce is low but they didn’t look super fast as for example in Brescia a few months ago.
I have pics and videos but at the moment my connection is pretty bad and I can’t add, will do it this evening.
Paire def. Mertl 46 75 64
This match has been played on Monday but I add it since I managed to get there on time.
Paire is probably the biggest attraction in Bergamo and the public was looking forward to watch him.
After a few games Paire started complaining about court conditions (I think the complain was about the surface being not plane) and asked the supervisor to come and check, but of course he could not do anything.
Mertl kept serving above 200 kmh with peaks over 220 and Paire at the beginning could not handle these big serves. Then he started hitting chop returns and it worked. I have to say that he looked very prudent moving on court. He delighted the public with some sexy dropshots and stop volleys but from the baseline he could not outpower Mertl and had a lot of self-talk complaining about his own level.
Mertl had a very solid level for two sets and was very close to the win when on break point for 64 *54 Paire hit a shot pretty clearly out but chair umpire overruled the linesman call: Mertl went nuts and lost focus. Paire then just needed to be solid and wait for the chances that a very nervous czech conceded serving to stay in the match on *4-5 third set. Benoit capitalized and Jan destroyed his own racquet.
Surely not the best performance by Paire, but he didn’t give up and tried to stay focused until the end and he managed to stay calm even if an aged woman close to me shouted blatantly “Oh no!” and “Mon Dieu” after every shot missed by Benoit. I would have killed her.
Hernych def. Fucsovics 61 62
Not much to say about this much. The only game won by the hungarian in the first set was a game where he saved 0-40. Hernych has an amazing footwork indoor (huge difference for example compared to Paire) and played a very solid match showing that indoors, even without much power, you can use angles to outplay your opponent.
Fucsovics was truly bad throughout the match, clearly frustrated by Hernych´s level and he didn’t even show any particular emotion like he didn’t care a lot about the tournament.
Won’t be easy to beat Hernych here.
Daniell/Motti def. Skupski/Skupski 76 76
I went to the other venue of the tournament (Alzano) to cheer for one of the kindest guy on tour: Ale Motti.
Daniell was coming from the ATP title in Montpellier so you could even expect his to be a bit empty of mental energies but in fact Daniell/Motti looked the better team from the beginning.They were not able to capitalize good situations during rallies and on 5-5 with Motti on serve they went 15-40: this was the turning point of the match as Motti played 3 super clutch points and in a few minutes they were set and break up. When the match seemed over, Daniell had a little black-out on serve and the match went to another tiebreak which they won pretty easily. Good chemistry between Daniell and Motti that later translated the menu at lunch (with Flavio Cipolla) for his mate. Motti should play Wroclaw Challenger next week. Funny that during second set tiebreak Skupskis had to ask the umpire which of them had to serve because they forgot.
Basic def. Gaio 57 63 64
In the first set Gaio played a great attacking tennis for the joy of his coach Rianna on the stands, going to the net as soon as possible and being pretty solid on serve. There is a reason why Gaio has that ranking, he could not keep the level for the whole match. Basic started serving better and Gaio could not return anymore (won 9 points on return during last 2 sets). Basic had just to wait for Gaio to offer him a chance and he got one per set, that was enough. Gaio fought till the end but Basic didn’t offer any chance to break back.
Nedovyesov def. Marcora 64 64
I could watch only the first set and I think this was the best match of the day with both players showing attacking tennis and powerful shots. Nedovyesov played a great first set trying to take the initiative as soon as possible, Marcora was often the second best on rallies despite showing good attitude on court and good technique. Nedo looked very motivated here.
Puetz def. Fischer 63 64
I sincerely expected a better performance by the austrian, but Puetz despite framing some shots at the beginning of the match was dominating almost every rally. Both players were playing similar tennis but one of them was way more solid. Both players complained with umpire about line calls: I have to say this happened in every match. Petz and Andy Beck were attending the match.
Michon def. Teixeira 36 63 64
First set was one-way traffic with Teixeira serving very well (8 aces) and being more solid during the long rallies. It was however pretty clear that if Teixeira would have started missing some first serves, Michon could have bounced back into the match. This exactly happened a few games later: Teixeira had no more free points from serve and Michon started believing he could win and trying to be more aggressive. Both players complained about opponent´s serves being out (anche they were out!) but the umpire never overruled. I have to say that Teixeira never gave up and tried to fight until the end, but Michon didn’t allow him to come back especially hitting some nice lobs.
Teixeira had to correct the chair umpire twice: first time when he announced the winner of the coin toss, second time when he announced Michon 2-1 up in the third while in fact the score was Michon 3-2.
Pouille def. Martin 63 64
Pouille’s power was very impressive here, his forehand is really an huge weapon and Martin was not able to handle it. Pouille showed also good defensive skills hitting amazing passing shots when Martin tried to attack him. Martin went a break up in the second set but it was pretty clear that the set wasn’t in danger for the French.
In the end I think that Pouille and Nedovyesov have been the most impressive players today, with Henrych and Puetz slightly below them.
I will attend the tournament also today and then come back home, will be at Wroclaw Challenger from Monday to Friday next week.