Fran Cerúndolo is back from an incredible first set against Berrettini but ran out of gas and said goodbye to Monte Carlo

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It’s over Monte Carlo Masters 1000 For Francis Cerundolo. In a very rare match, the porteño, 33rd in the standings, failed to do so Matthew Berrettini, 22, and said goodbye in the second round of the Monaco tournament, one of the great stages of the European brick dust tour which will end at Roland Garros. On his 26th birthday, the Italian – who had a rousing start, but failed to sustain his superiority – had to work hard to prevail 5-7, 7-6 (7-1) and 6-4 and advance to the group of 16.

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Francisco, 24, staged an incredible comeback in the first set. Because Berrettini took the field more concentrated, he showed very aggressive tennis from the first point and was very solid in the most important points. And with two consecutive breaks -in the second and fourth games-, they went ahead 5-0.

The difference seemed irreversible for the Argentine, because his rival was pure confidence and, until then, hadn’t given him time or space to try and recover. But when the Italian went to serve to close the set, with the score 5-1 in his favor, the story changed completely.

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With nothing to lose, Cerúndolo demonstrated mental toughness and discipline. Since he didn’t despair, despite his enormous disadvantage, he started to press more and got back into the game. His reaction has emotionally worn down the opponent, who has lost effectiveness and precision.

The Argentine added his first break to make it 2-5; he scores another one, moving up 4-5 (in a match in which Berrettini misses a set point) and nails the third one, moving ahead 6-5 and leading the set for the first time. And then, he sealed the set with his serve, after 52 minutes and after winning seven consecutive games.

Perplexed, Berrettini spent the break talking to himself and his bank, looking for some explanation for what had just happened. But he vented his anger and came back with a clear head for the second chapter. And while Cerúndolo prolonged his great moment, a balanced and entertaining duel was organized.

The Roman brought out his powerful forehand and didn’t give up any chance to break throughout the set. The porteño was no less, he showed the power and speed of his drive and only put his serve at risk in the 12th game, in which he raised against four set points, before making it 6-6 and forcing the tie-break.

In the tie-break Berrettini was intractable, against a Cerúndolo who got lost on the pitch and I didn’t have any answers to the shots that came from the other side of the net. The Italian found no resistance to go ahead 6-0 and ended up closing the chapter 7-1.

Before the start of the third, the Italian requested medical attention due to pain in the intercostal area, which did not limit him. In the fifth game, they took advantage of a very weak serve from Cerúndolo (three double faults and as many unforced errors) and got a break to make it 3-2.

The Argentine – complicated by his rival’s game, who unbalanced him and did a lot of harm with the slice, short balls and climbs to the net – hasn’t found the regularity and game with which he had overturned the first set around. He doesn’t give up, but he doesn’t even manage to recover the break and the Italian seals the victory 6-4, after 53 minutes of play.

Berrettini’s exultation, more of relief than euphoria, reflects how tough the game was. Roman will now precede Danish Rune Holgersixth favourite, who previously beat the Austrian 6-2 and 6-4 Dominic Thiemguest of the organization.

Cerúndolo -who had just beaten the English 6-3 and 6-4 with great solvency Cameron Norie (11th seed)- started with a standing ovation and, beyond the defeat, will be able to bring out many positive things from this tournament, in which he appeared for the first time. Because on the pitch he has shown that he has the tennis and the mind to play on equal footing against the toughest rivals on the circuit.

With the fall of Francisco, the tournament was exhausted with the Argentines, as in one of the first games of the day, diego schwartzmann he withdrew with a left shoulder injury, handing victory to Jannik Sinner. In the first round, meanwhile, he had fired Sebastian Baez.

Source: Clarin

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