By Florian Heer

Amazing Arnaldi downs Brancaccio for Tenerife Challenger 2 title

Matto Arnaldi capped his stunning week at the Abama Tennis Academy on Sunday when the 21-year-old prevailed 6-1, 6-2 in an all-Italian championship match at the Tenerife Challenger 2.

The second-seeded Arnaldi was ruthless right from the beginning against his countryman by staying consistent from the baseline and winning 68 per cent of the total points played to clinch opening set in only 25 minutes.

The #NextGenATP star also set the tone early in the second set, earned a break in the first game and continued to impress with clean hitting off both wings. On the other side of the net, Brancaccio struggled with blisters, took a medical time-out after the third game to receive treatment on his right hand. Arnaldi remained solid, still focused on his own game, and served the match out after 58 minutes.

Arnaldi with new career-high ranking

“I’m very happy about the success,” said Arnaldi. “Overall, it was a good week. It’s never easy to be one of the favourites of a tournament. I played my best match probably in the first round (against Alessandro Giannessi). I’m sorry for Raul who couldn’t play at 100 per cent today, but I am super happy, how I played. The event was amazing with perfect organization by MEF Tennis Events and fantastic conditions. It’s great to play outdoors during the winter.”

Arnaldi lifted his second ATP Challenger Tour career title following his maiden triumph on home soil in Francavilla in May last year. The Sanremo native pocketed €9,880 in prize money as well as 75 ATP Ranking points, which propels him to a new career-high of World No. 110 on Monday.

“Off the court I have found my balance,” said Arnaldi. “I will make some new experiences this season, playing my first ATP events and I also hope to compete in the main draws of the Grand Slam tournaments. I will continue trying to do my best.”

Arnaldi will next play at the ATP Challenger in Bahrain followed by the qualifications to the ATP Tour events in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.

Brancaccio, who is based in Spain at the GTennis Academy in Valencia and is coached by Sergio Gallego, earned €5,820 in prize money and 50 ATP Ranking points.  

Third and final tournament in Tenerife to go underway

Tennis action on the largest of the Canary Islands continues the upcoming week with the Tenerife Challenger 3. The field is led by World No. 109 Francesco Passaro of Italy, who will start his title bid against a qualifier.

Alexander Shevchenko, champion of the Tenerife Challenger 1, will be the second seed. The 22-year-old Russian also awaits a qualifier for his first-round match. Carlos Taberner, Martín Landaluce as well as wild card entries Daniel Rincón and Pablo Llamas Ruiz will be part of a strong Spanish contingent.

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