ATP Main Draw Regulars Dolgopolov and Bellucci Highlight ATP Rome 2015 Qualifiers
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
ATP Rome qualifying for 2015 was stacked as numerous players who regularly feature in ATP main draw competition were forced to enter the qualifying tournament to try and earn a place in the Masters main draw.
While ATP regulars such as Denis Istomin, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Jurgen Melzer, and Pablo Carreno Busta failed to qualify, Alex Dolgopolov and Thomaz Bellucci were the highlights of the qualification field. Dolgopolov, who has slipped to 73 in the rankings, after formerly being a top 20 player, defeated Roberto Marcora, and then Federico Delbonis without dropping a set. Martin Klizan, a beatable opponent, awaits him in round 1.
Bellucci, who qualified in Madrid, and reached the quarters in Istanbul as well, will open with another qualifier, Diego Schwartzman, in the main draw. He defeated Alejandro Gonzalez with a bagel, and then beat Ivan Dodig, who continues to struggle, in straight sets. Schwartzman, a semifinalist in Istanbul, beat Andrey Kuznetsov, then scored a minor upset over Benoit Paire in three sets, as he won the first and third sets.
A pair of Italians qualified on home soil in Rome, Andrea Arnaboldi, a 27 year old ranked just outside the top 200 with extremely limited ATP experience upset Mikhail Kukushkin in round 1, in three sets, and then beat his countryman Stefano Napolitano on Rome’s famed red clay to qualify. He’ll have a tough opponent in the form of David Goffin in round 1 of the main draw. Thomas Fabbiano, a 25 year old who is also just outside the top 200 in the rankings, added to the home fan’s delight as he qualified with an upset victory over young gun Andrey Rublev. Fabbiano in fact scored a pair of upsets as he beat Joao Souza in the previous round. His first round opponent Richard Gasquet will be a big step up however.
Last but not least, Dusan Lajovic and Marsel Ilhan both joined the main draw. Lajovic, a 24 year old Serb nearing the top 70, beat Marco Cecchinato, an Italian, and then upset Borna Coric, as the young guns have not fared well in Rome thus far. He won both of those matches without dropping a set, and he’ll look to improve his clay court record in the main draw now, as he will face the accomplished Juan Monaco. Ilhan, the great Turkish hope, did one better than his loss in the final round qualifying of Madrid, as he defeated Gianluca Mager to qualify, and prior to that, he upset the in-form Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets. Ilhan has a very winnable round 1 match with Adrian Mannarino next up.