Roberto Bautista had to spend an extra hour in the Manolo Santana Stadium of the Magic Box. With 6-5 and serving he had three match balls that he did not close, which led him to an additional agonizing time to defeat the Italian Marco Cecchinator by 6-2, 6-7 (3-7) and 7-5 in 2h.29 ‘.
Bautista, 33 years old and 11th ATP, will face this Wednesday, in a second round match, the American ‘gunner’ John isner, rested since Monday after beating Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 7-6 (6).
The Spaniard from Castellón was doomed to suffering before the tough ‘qualy’ Cecchinato, 28 years old and 104 in the world. The transalpine man rescued at times part of the glory that he experienced between the semifinals of Roland Garros 2018, after beating in the quarterfinals Novak Djokovic, and the spring of 2019, when it was placed 16th in the ranking.
Cecchinato survived the three ‘match-balls’ to later take the ‘tiebreak’ and force a third set that also had its suspense, the nervous moments of Roberto Bautista, who was not worth making the ‘break’ and going ahead 5-3. It served for a duel, but was seen in an instant with 5-5.
Bautista reacted to establish the 6-5 and get 0-40. He gave no more options to the rival, he sealed with a blank game through a deep rest that the opponent did not control.
Bautista, finalist in Doha and Marseille, had made eighths in the land of Monte Carlo (Andrey Rublev) and Barcelona (Jannik Sinner). He survived at the Mutua Madrid Open, where his best result dates back to the 2014 semi-finals. Since then it has been a tournament that has always cost him.
In the 2019 edition, he suffered the last gasp of David Ferrer in his professional retirement, although months later, on the same stage, although on a hard court, he raised the ‘silver salad bowl’ of champion of a Davis cup very emotional for the death of his father, whom he fired at home to return immediately to Madrid and help his teammates.