Former World No. 7 David Goffin dug deep to defeat home-country favorite Luca Nardi 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday in the opening round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
Down a set and a break point in the second set, Goffin rallied. He broke Nardi’s serve in the eighth game to tie the set at 4-4, then broke his opponent again in the 10th game. Goffin held Nardi without a point in the final game of the second set, then went on to dominate the third set to win in two hours, 22 minutes.
Goffin, from Belgium, will face 2017 champion Alexander Zverev of Germany in the second round of the Masters 1000 clay-court tournament.
“I was a little bit tight at the beginning of the match and he was playing well,” Goffin said. “He didn’t leave me any (chances) in the first set and at the beginning of the second. It was a few points that made the difference, because he had the break, and I was really close to coming back in some long games.”
Goffin dropped out of the top 100 of the world rankings for the first time in nearly nine years this week.
“If it would have been (6-3, 6-4) for him, it would have been, ‘OK, congrats’, but I had to fight and I won a few important points in the second to turn it around,” Goffin said. “After that I started to play even better and he was a little bit mentally down. I started to play more in the third, so I’m very happy I managed to win this one.”
Another Italian, Marco Cecchinato, moved on by defeating Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 7-5, sending him to 6-0 in the opening round of tour matches this season. He’ll face Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the second round.
Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland also eked out a three-set victory over Ugo Humbert of France. Next up for him is No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
Other winners Thursday were German Daniel Altmaier, who reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal last week in Madrid; Australian Jason Kubler; Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain; Nuno Borges of Portugal; and Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
–Field Level Media