Goffin Changes The Script In Rome
The last time Belgian David Goffin and Argentine Leonardo Mayer met in Rome, two years ago, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up barely squeaked by, coming within two points of defeat and needing to escape an epic 18-point second-set tie-break before pulling away in a decider.
The World No. 10 faced no such issues against Mayer on Monday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, ousting the 30-year-old 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes. It is the 60th tour-level clay-court win of Goffin’s career, and the fourth time in as many appearances that he has gotten through his first-round match at the Foro Italico.
Goffin has enjoyed success in Italy over the past three years, advancing to at least the Round of 16 each time. Each of the No. 9 seed's losses in the Italian capital have come against an opponent inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, and he now owns an 8-3 record at the event. Goffin next plays Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato, who came back to defeat Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours, six minutes.
The home favourite, who claimed his maiden ATP World Tour title at Budapest last month, faced break point while down a set at both 3-3 and 4-4 in the second set, but battled through to set his first FedEx ATP Head2Head series meeting against Goffin.
Another Top 10 seed got through on the red clay, but did so in a much tighter battle. No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta overcame a tough test to defeat American Jared Donaldson 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 in one hour, 40 minutes.
That victory ends a two-match losing streak for the Spaniard, who has not moved past the second round in Rome in two main draw appearances. Carreno Busta will look to do so when he faces American Steve Johnson, who beat Stan Wawrinka on Monday. While the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head series is knotted at 1-1, Carreno Busta defeated Johnson in straight sets earlier this year at Miami.
In one of the final matches of the day, British No. 1 Kyle Edmund maintained his good form, holding off Istanbul finalist Malek Jaziri 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours, five minutes. The Madrid quarter-finalist — who beat Novak Djokovic in the Spanish capital — now will face a stiff test in either No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille or home favourite Andreas Seppi.
Results Straightforward On Doubles Court
All three doubles matches at the Foro Italico on Monday ended in straight sets, with none of the six sets going to a tie-break. Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who won five titles with five different partners last year, beat singles stars Diego Schwartzman and Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-2 to set up a clash against top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.
Elsewhere, Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus beat Ryan Harrison and Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-4. And while Sam Querrey lost in singles on Sunday, he partnered fellow American Rajeev Ram to a 6-3, 7-5 win against Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille.
Did You Know?
David Goffin has remained inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings since first cracking the elite group on 9 October 2017.