Travaglia Charges Through

On the first day of action at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters since Fabio Fognini completed his title run in 2019, Stefano Travaglia flew the flag for Italy in the Principality on Saturday with a dominant 6-3, 6-0 victory against Sumit Nagal.

The second seed dropped just three points behind his first serve (20/23) to defeat the 23-year-old in 58 minutes. Travaglia, who is aiming to compete in the main draw for the first time in Monte-Carlo, entered the match seeking his first victory since his run to the Great Ocean Road Open final in February (l. to Sinner).

The Italian will face Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak for a place in the main draw. Majchrzak broke 12th seed Gianluca Mager on four occasions to record a 6-3, 6-3 win in the opening match on Court Rainier III.

Top seed Dominik Koepfer saved nine of the 12 break points he faced to overcome Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-4. Last year’s Rome quarter-finalist will meet Juan Ignacio Londero in the final qualifying round. Londero, the 2019 Cordoba champion, defeated German wild card Mischa Zverev 6-4, 6-1 in 65 minutes.

Eighth seed Alexei Popyrin continued his strong start to the 2021 season with a 6-2, 6-4 against Monegasque wild card Romain Arneodo. The Singapore Open champion converted all four of his break points en route to victory. Popyrin will meet Yannick Hanfmann in his next match. The German closed Saturday play with a 7-5, 6-3 win against third seed Jiri Vesely.

Popyrin will not be the only Aussie competing in the final qualifying round. Wild card Bernard Tomic upset fourth seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 7-5 on Court Des Princes. The 28-year-old is attempting to reach the main draw at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the sixth time. Tomic will need to get past Salvatore Caruso to achieve that feat, following the Italian’s 6-3, 6-4 win against Martin Klizan.

Marco Cecchinato, the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, outlasted Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach the second qualifying round. The 13th seed will face another Swiss opponent at that stage: Henri Laaksonen. The 29-year-old also rallied from a set down to beat seventh seed Egor Gerasimov 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

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