Marco Cecchinato found his groove against the lively lefty serve of Ben Shelton on Sunday at the Gonet Geneva Open, where the Italian downed the #NextGenATP American 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 at the ATP 250.
Taking on one of the ATP Tour’s brightest young talents for the first time, Cecchinato converted four of his 11 break points in the first-round encounter. He rallied from 3-5 to take the first set and dominated the third to clinch a two-hour, two-minute triumph.
Cecchinato also reached the second round in Geneva in 2021 and 2022. The World No. 83 will attempt to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in four appearances when he takes on home favourite Marc-Andrea Huesler or Wu Yibing next in Switzerland.
The 30-year-old Cecchinato, who has lifted all three of his ATP Tour titles on clay, is now 10-6 for the year. He has won a match at every tournament he has played in 2023. With Sunday’s triumph against Shelton, Cecchinato improved his record in ATP Tour opening rounds this year to 7-0.
Also on Sunday in Geneva, Christopher Eubanks enjoyed a 7-6(2), 6-3 win against Benoit Paire in his maiden tour-level match on clay. The American’s reward for his 75-minute victory is a second-round clash against third seed Alexander Zverev.