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Fantasy Winner Thankful To Paris Underdogs

Draw Challenge

Sforza© Francesco SforzaFrancesco Sforza became the first Italian to win the ATP World Tour Draw Challenge Circuit.

Francesco Sforza defeated more than 35,000 participants to become the first Italian winner of the ATP World Tour Draw Challenge Circuit in 2012 and owes his victory to a spate of upsets in the final Draw Challenge of the season at the BNP Paribas Masters

Francesco explains, “During the tournament in Paris-Bercy, I had to suffer the pains of hell because I had Novak Djokovic as winner, but he lost his second-round match against Sam Querrey. So in fact, I could win only if Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, or Tomas Berdych didn't win the tournament.” Fortunately for Francesco, the underdogs had their day in the French capital. “I was desperate so I followed every match,” he said. “When Gilles Simon beat Berdych, I couldn't believe I had won!”

A month earlier, Francesco had endured more stress watching the Shanghai Rolex Masters final. Having picked a Djokovic victory, the Italian saw his chances fading fast as Murray opened up a 7-5, 5-4, 40/30 lead. However, the World No. 1 would save five match points in a dramatic turnaround that gave Francesco the edge over then-leader, “I'm The Serving Aces”, who had picked Murray to prevail.

So what was the Italian’s winning formula? “This year I started to make picks considering a player’s condition and I followed a specific method which is: if someone, who is not in the Top 10, takes part in the final or the semi-final the week before the Master 1000 event, I don't pick him to do well. On the contrary, if a player has had a bad tournament in the previous week, I pick him to go further. I never pay attention to head-to-head; this is a strange thing, but it has worked.”

Francesco’s prize is a VIP trip for two to the 2013 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. It will be the Italian’s first visit to London and he plans to take his brother, whom he credits for helping him make his picks during the season. 

"I can't believe I won this fabulous game! It's amazing!" declared Francesco. "I enjoy following a lot of players, one of them is Alexander Dolgopolov. I would like to see him next year in London, but it will be difficult. Of the fabulous four I prefer Rafael Nadal, because I like his way of playing tennis, going from one part to another part of the tennis court."

A keen social player himself for the past 10 years, Francesco has previously attended the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and also met future Top 25 players when he watched the action at the Barletta Challenger, close to his native Bari. Ahead of his trip to The O2 next November, Francesco will also visit Roland Garros for the first time. 

The Draw Challenge returns in 2013 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, with the opportunity to win more great prizes.

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