by Florian Heer
For the third time in the past four weeks, the stars of the ATP Challenger Tour have gathered at the stunning venue of the Abama Tennis Academy in Guía de Isora, where spectators can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean while soaking in world-class tennis, to determine the champion of the Tenerife Challenger. Following the triumph of Italian Matteo Arnaldi last Sunday, two of his fellow countrymen have found their way into the semi-finals of this week’s €73,000 hard-court event.
In the bottom half of the draw, Stefano Travaglia defeated his compatriot Alessandro Giannessi 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. The 31-year-old from the Marche region of Italy capitalized on four of his eight break-point chances to seal victory in one hour and 27 minutes.
“I’m happy to be in the semi-finals,” said 409th-ranked Travaglia, who entered the main draw of the Tenerife Challenger 3 with a wild card. “Alessandro and I have known each other for a long time. Today there was a lot of wind, but I was well prepared and played a good match. I’m finding consistency after not being able to play so many matches at the end of 2022.”
Supported by his wife Maria Paola and his new coach Giuseppe Fischetti, who is based at the Enjoy Sporting Club in Rome, former World No. 60 Travaglia wants to get back to his best.
“The ranking will come as a result. I am happy that my wife will be able to travel with me a few more weeks this year. With Peppe Fischetti we are having a good time and I will travel with him as well. At the Enjoy Sporting Club we worked hard during the pre-season and now we are starting to see the results.”
Peniston beats Fonio
Travaglia will next face No. 5 seed Ryan Peniston, who beat Italian qualifier Giovanni Fonio 7-5, 6-4 on Court 3. The 27-year-old Briton won 58 per cent of the total points played to advance in one hour and 37 minutes.
“I am happy to be in the semi-finals here. It was a super close match, which could have gone either way. The conditions were tough, and Giovanni is a great player,” said Peniston.
“I did my pre-season in Australia because my coach is from Adelaide. It was awesome, as I was staying with his family, and I could also enjoy some really good preparation. This helped me at the start of the season,” added the World No. 159, who also reached the stage of the final four at the ATP Challenger event in Noumea, New Caledonia in January, his first tournament of 2023. Another good result in Tenerife should help him to get closer to reach his goal of the new season. “I want to make the Top 100 this year, playing some ATP events,” Peniston said.
Bonadio through to the final four
In the top half of the draw, Riccardo Bonadio knocked out fellow Italian and No. 8 seed Francesco Maestrelli 7-5, 6-2. The 29-year-old from Pordenone withstood four aces and broke Maestrelli’s serve five times to prevail after one hour and 56 minutes.
“Today’s conditions were slower compared to the other days, probably because of the rain last night,” said Bonadio. “It was very windy, so it was tough to be aggressive on court today. But I am happy, as I played well and made it into the semi-finals here in Tenerife. Together with my coach we work hard on my game on hard courts, and it pays off.”
Bonadio will next take on either Matteo Gigante of Italy or Spanish wild card entry Pablo Llamas Ruiz. Their quarterfinal match was suspended at 1-1 in the first set due to rain and postponed to Saturday, 10:30 am.