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May 8, 2024 9:51 pm

Nuno Borges ekes past Pedro Martinez in Rome opener

Nuno Borges

Portugal’s Nuno Borges saved two match points while winning a marathon tiebreaker, emerging with a 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (8) victory over Spain’s Pedro Martinez on Wednesday in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Borges had a match point at 5-3 in the third set before dropping his serve and eventually ending up in a decisive tiebreaker on the clay. Martinez jumped in front 5-2 in the tiebreaker before Borges won the next four points to earn another match point.

Martinez again recovered and had match points at 7-6 on Borges’ serve and 8-7 on his own serve, but Borges extended the contest each time. Borges finally put the match away on Martinez’s serve.

Borges advances to oppose 15th-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the second round.

Other first-round winners on Wednesday were Italy’s Flavio Cobolli and Luciano Darderi, Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic, Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann, Russia’s Pavel Kotov, Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, Kazakhstan’s Alexander Shevchenko, China’s Zhizhen Zhang, French qualifier Terence Atmane and Brazilian qualifier Thiago Monteiro.

The event’s 32 seeded players — including No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia, No. 3 Alexander Zverev of Germany and No. 4 Andrey Rublev of Russia — received first-round byes.

Unseeded Rafael Nadal, a 10-time Rome champion, opens against Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs on Thursday. Nadal began his injury-delayed season last month with two tournaments in his native Spain, losing in the second round at Barcelona and the fourth round at Madrid.

Nadal said of his form, “It’s something that is not every day the same. It is not a line like this (going up), it’s a little bit like this (up and down). Even after Barcelona, I had some tough moments in Madrid. Even here the first day. But in a general perspective, the line is going up, without a doubt.

“I am happy to be today where I am because one month ago for me (it) was almost impossible to think that I would be able to play in Barcelona then in Madrid and now being here in Rome. Things are happening.”

Djokovic, a six-time champion in Rome, will open against either France’s Corentin Moutet or Russia’s Roman Safiullin.

–Field Level Media

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