This week, as the ATP Challenger Tour kicks off its long-awaited restart, players have descended on the scenic town of Todi in central Italy. After a two-year hiatus, the Internazionali Di Tennis Citta Di Todi is back for a 12th edition.
The Challenger 100 event is one of two stops on the circuit, as professional tennis returns on the clay of Todi and Prague. Located in the Umbria region, the Tennis Club Todi 1971 is nestled at the base of the hilltop town and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding municipality.
This week, seven players in the Top 150 of the FedEx ATP Rankings are competing in Todi, led by top seed Roberto Carballes Baena. Three-time ATP Tour champion and former World No. 16 Marco Cecchinato leads the Italian charge along with third seed Federico Gaio.
Carballes Baena opens against 21-year-old Jurij Rodionov, while Cecchinato faces Argentina’s Andrea Collarini and Gaio battles countryman Matteo Viola. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who reached his first final on the ATP Tour a year ago in Gstaad, rounds out the Top 4 seeds.
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The #NextGenATP contingent is well represented in Todi, with Rodionov looking to carry his dominant form from February. The Austrian scored an impressive 15 wins from 17 matches before the tour was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lifting trophies in Dallas and Morelos.
Rodionov, who opens against Carballes Baena on Tuesday, is joined by surging teens Carlos Alcaraz, Giulio Zeppieri, Lorenzo Musetti and Hugo Gaston in the draw. Alcaraz is looking to build on his own breakthrough, when he claimed an impressive victory in his ATP Tour debut in Rio de Janeiro. At the age of 16, he stunned countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas at 3:00am for his first Top 50 win.
“It’s been a long time since we played tournaments, so I’m happy to play well [in qualifying],” said Alcaraz. “I was trying to stay in shape in quarantine and I know I can do well here this week.”
Alcaraz, who is coached by former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, qualified for the main draw on Sunday.
“Of course we are happy to be back on the tour again after so many months at home,” added Ferrero. “Carlos needs to compete, he’s young and he’s been working hard to increase his level. I know he can play against anyone on the tour.”
Look who’s in Todi 👀
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) August 16, 2020
Sitting at World No. 318, Alcaraz will hope for a deep run in Todi as he continues to rise the FedEx ATP Rankings. He opens against Italy’s Gian Marco Moroni on Monday, with a potential second-round date against another Italian, eighth seed Lorenzo Giustino.
Past champions in Todi include two-time winners Carlos Berlocq (2010-11), Aljaz Bedene (2014-15) and its most recent titlist Federico Delbonis in 2017.