It was home cooking for Gian Marco Moroni on Wednesday, as the Italian battled into the quarter-finals at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Todi.
They don’t call him ‘El Bufalo’ (the buffalo) for nothing, as the Rome native dug in his heels and refused to back down to Daniel Altmaier on a sunny afternoon at the Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Todi. A dogged Moroni eventually prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 32 minutes.
The 22-year-old reached his second quarter-final of the season after advancing to the last four in Bangkok in January. He will face Cedrik-Marcel Stebe on Friday, following the German’s impressive 6-4, 6-0 win over Elliot Benchetrit.
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Stebe has dropped a combined eight games in reaching the quarters in Todi, as the World No. 133 continues to plot his ascent in his bid for a Top 100 return.
“I’m feeling good. I really like the weather here, it’s very warm and these are usually my conditions. I’m playing good and I tried to stay focused today. I was the better player. I’m hoping I can get really far in this tournament.”
The 29-year-old, who has battled through a litany of injuries during his career, understands the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy playing environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Stebe lauded the tournament’s efforts and commitment to these safety measures.
“They are doing a really good job [with the safety measures]. Everyone is wearing a mask and it’s not just inside the club, which is good to see. I’m happy that we can play again and I hope that we can keep at it under these circumstances. I always like coming back to Italy and I feel very comfortable here.”
In other action, third seed Federico Gaio – the highest-ranked Italian in the draw – set a quarter-final clash against France’s Antoine Hoang. Gaio capped a busy Day 3 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over countryman Alessandro Giannessi, while Hoang overcame Mario Vilella Martinez 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.