At the fifth time of trying, Giulio Zeppieri is a main draw winner on the ATP Tour.
The #NextGenATP Italian rallied to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 first-round victory against Pedro Cachin at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag on Monday. The 20-year-old needed five match points to complete his victory, but kept his cool to serve out for a one-hour, 54-minute win against the World No. 90.
“It’s a very emotional moment for me, my first win on the ATP Tour,” said Zeppieri in his on-court interview. “I’m very proud of myself because I beat a very good guy in Pedro, and I’m very happy.”
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Zeppieri showed good form on clay earlier this year, defeating Alex Molcan and Maxime Cressy to qualify for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before qualifying for his first Grand Slam main draw at Roland Garros.
He also came through qualifying in Umag at the weekend, seeing off 14-time Tour titlist Gilles Simon and Elias Ymer to reach the main draw in Croatia. Zeppieri won 84 per cent (42/50) of points behind his first delivery in a solid serving display against Cachin to secure the main draw win that had previously eluded him.
A magical moment ✨
— TennisTV (@TennisTV) July 25, 2022
A potential second-round clash between Zeppieri and his more experienced countryman Fabio Fognini was scuppered by Daniel Elahi Galan. The Colombian upset the seventh-seeded Fognini, who lifted the trophy in Umag in 2016, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
The 26-year-old Galan celebrated cracking the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday by prevailing in a two-hour, 43-minute battle. He consistently challenged in return games, converting seven of 14 break points in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Fognini.
Also on Monday, Roberto Carballes Baena defeated Henri Laaksonen, 6-4, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with fifth seed Alex Molcan or home wild card Duje Ajdukovic.