Three Italians in the quarters in Ortisei
Thursday at the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena South Tyrol was all about the tennis pros from Italy. After sensation Luca Giacomini, Federico Gaio and Enrico Dalla Valle also advanced to the quarter-finals on Friday. Gaio decided the derby against Francesco Forti 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, while Dalla Valle knocked out Jordan's Abdullah Selbayh, the No. 1 seed, in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The evening match between Gaio and Forti was a close match as expected. Forti, the protégé of Giorgio Galimberti, got off to the better start. Gaio had to fend off four break points in his first service game and gave up his serve for 2:4. That was enough for Forti to win the set. In the second set, Gaio held off two important break points at 3:3 and then took Forti's serve for 5:3. That was the turning point. Gaio now played the important points better. The break to 3:2 put him on the winning track in the third set. Gaio, ranked No. 3 in the tournament and No. 213 in the world, is the only seed to reach the quarter-finals: "I am happy about my performance today. It was not an easy match and I did not start well. Forti is also serving very well. Tomorrow I will play Luca Giacomini. He is in the quarter-finals as a qualifier, so he has to play well. I will also try to reach the next round tomorrow."
Dalla Valle, who like Forti will be accompanied by his coach Giorgio Galimberti at the Ortisei Tennis Hall, lost the first set against Shelbayh after leading 2-0. In the second set, the Italian missed three break points at 4:2. He fended off three break points at 3:3 and set the course for victory with the break at 5:3. In the end, the break to 4:2 in the third set was decisive for the world number 314. Dalla Valle was satisfied, "because I won against an opponent who will go far up the world rankings. But I knew I had the weapons to play an equal match. I played much better today than in the first round on Wednesday. Now I beat the number 1 and now I have to play the virtual number 1 in the quarter-finals. I know Lukas Klein very well, we are the same age. He is a very good player, but I know I have a chance tomorrow as well."