So, an actual full slate of singles play took place at the Sao Paulo Challenger today (well, almost, haha), and – on the off chance that my nauseatingly-detailed tweets weren’t enough for you (or you missed all of my 140-character gems entirely) – I will now provide a nauseatingly-detailed recap of Wednesday’s action out of the goodness of my heart. And at no extra cost to you, dear reader!
Well, I woke up and was writing my snarky preview about how there’d be no tennis today. When all of a sudden, on a whim, I decided to launch livestreams and scoreboards and stumbled upon a minor miracle: after days of deluge, there was play in Sao Paulo! Hallelujah and praise Jesus (that’s the guy with the squeegee’s name, I’m pretty sure: Jesus Silva, no doubt).
We joined the action with Federico Delbonis (one word, the ATP spells it wrong – thanks Marcos for the tip!) leading Tiago Lopes 7-5, Guillermo Alcaide over Daniele Giorgini 6-3 2-3, Giovanni Lapentti in a first set tiebreak with Ricardo Hocevar, and Joao Souza warming up with Matteo Trevisan on the postage stamp-sized livestream. It wasn’t long before the seventh seeded Delbo had closed out his match in dual 7-5 sets, while Alcaide wrapped up his match in three, winning 6-3 4-6 6-3.
A Little Delbo Room – Federico Delbonis, clearly practicing on Petr Korda’s home court
As it should have done after several days delay, the tennis was coming faster and furiouser than Vin Diesel on a Wayne Odesnik hypodermic cocktail. Before I knew it, Souza had come back from a set down to win the second set 6-3 with a hearty cry of “Vamos!” for good measure. Trevisan was then sprayed/rubbed and otherwise fondled (and possibly deloused) in the legular region, MTO-style. And before I knew it (again), Souza had closed out the match (this time with a hearty cry of “Allez!” – such variety!) 4-6 6-3 6-1, much to the delight of the local crowd. But the real question we need to ask here is: why did things keep happening before I knew them? A disturbing trend, to be sure. Anyway, the 3rd-seeded Souza will play Giovanni Lapentti, who beat Ricardo Hocevar 7-6(6) 6-4 in the 2nd round. Lapentti leads their head-to-head 3 to 2.
And then the still-Swedish wildcard Christian Lindell made it into my livestream crosshairs against the always-Argentinian Andres Molteni. Lindell dictated play early, serving 4 aces, ruling rallies and racing to a 4-1* first set lead. Molteni was muttery. Meanwhile, on another court, I notice that Uladzimir Ignatik has bageled eighth seed Paul Capdeville in the third set, getting the upset 7-5 3-6 6-0. Later I learned that Capdeville had been sick and cramping in that final set. Oh.
Also meanwhile on another court, Horacio Zeballos was upwarming for his match against Julio Silva. Why the second seed was scheduled to play a Brazilian on any court other than Court Central left me mystified and bewildered. I mean, I know they’re backlogged with matches, but only 4 total contests were even scheduled on the main (and streamed) court today, with 5 matches on all the others. Surely they could’ve made some room for their second seed, no? No.
Regardless, Molteni started to make a good go of it on Court Central while he was there (and why not?). He charged back in the 2nd set, served to force a tiebreak, and found himself at triple set point 6-3*. Lindell held to 5-6*, but then Molteni netrushed and Lindell melted, making an error of induction on set point numero tres. Second set to Molteni to the 22 year-old Argie, 76(5).
It wasn’t long before Lindell had lost the plot so entirely, he couldn’t find his way out of a Choose Your Own Way Adventure. He had a break point in the 2nd game of the third set but shipped it, then errored it up in the 3rd game and was broken. So he called a physio. That gave me time to glance at the scoreboard and see that Thomas Fabbiano, second in fabbulousness only to Alejandro Fabbri, had run away with the first set from Zampieri. Caio! Back on the streamed court, Molteni beats another hobbled hombre, a la Trevisan. Lindell, unlike Iggy, goes down, 16 76(5) 62. Molteni will face Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in the second round, upset winner over fourth seed Maximo Gonzalez 6-4 3-6 6-4.
Up next on Court Central we had some Brazil-on-Brazil action: Thiago Alves vs. Challenger Tennis friend and fave Fernando Romboli. It was the first meeting for them on court. At this point, I made a startling discovery: either my livestream commentator had a speech impediment, or “Romboli” is pronounced “HLOM-bol-i”. I’d always thought it was “rom-BOL-i”. But then again, I’m a moron. Later, a Portuguese-speaking friend assured me that an “R” at the start of a word/name sounds like “a phlegmy HL” – good to know, friend! I guess I practised all my Cliff Dryesdale “r” trills for nothing, then!
So, tennis. Yes. Alves & Romboli were on serve. A baby wailed in protest. What can I say? The baby wanted breaks! Meanwhile, laboring in utter undeserved obscurity, Horacio Zeballos was up a set and a break on one of the tourney’s 3 Silvas. And Thomas Fabbiano was continuing his Italian fabbulousness in the 3rd set, shutting out Zampieri 4-0*. And on Court Central, it was a server’s special: 11 games played, and only 7 total points against serve. Alves was trying to hold for a TB in the first set. And he did. Tiebreak! A fruitful net venture got Romboli a mini-break on the crucial 7th point of the breaker, and then he held to 6-3 with a service winner and an ace, finally taking the first set on an inside-out forehand blast of a winner, 7-6(3).
In the second set, I began to see the errors of Alves’ ways; they mainly took the shape of smothered forehands into the net & ill-chosen droppuhs. On break point, Romboli scampered to the net, and put away a big overhead with a roarful soundtrack. Fernando was fired up, yo. Jawin’ with the chumpire a bit, saving break points – all in a days work for the Brazilian star. He soon found himself up a set and 3-1*, looking to extend his roll and go 20/2 in his last 22 matches.
Meanwhile, in things that made me go hmm: other hot-streaker Gastao Elias was down *2-5 to Challenger Tennis Player to Watch Tsung-Hua Yang. Hmm. Back on Court Central, Romboli the Wildcard ripped some trademark one-handed backhand zingers up the line & beat the fifth-seeded Alves 7-6(3) 6-4. He’ll play Thomas Fabbiano for the 1st time in R2.
Romboli Still Rollin’
Next up on Court Central found Duke sophomore Henrique Cunha vs. the top seed Ricardo Mello, in their first meeting. And it was an inauspicious start for Cunha: with multiple errors and a double fault, he found himself serving at 0-1 0-40 early. He saved the first break point on a nice rally, the second with an ace, but he was outhit on the third, as Mello notched an early break. In the next game, some nice returning gained Cunha a couple of break points, but Mello’s aggressive play erased both and the 30 year-old Brazilian held to 3-0*. After that, Ricardo just seemed on song (“Have You Never Been Mello?”), breaking at love to *4-0, and cruising to take the first set of the all-lefty battle 6-1.
At that point, Cunha got looked at by the physio. Something with his left arm, just above the elbow – I couldn’t tell exactly. But he got salve and spray applied in a medical time out. Meanwhile, Tsung-Hua Yang ended Gastao Elias’ 8-match 2011-starting run, 6-3 6-4. Yang was set to meet the winner of Cunha v Mello (description already in progress). Cunha began with some solid service games in the second set until his third attempt, when he was undone by errors to 0-40 & then double faulted to yield the break in 5th game. After that, Cunha stayed in touch and played decently at times, but Mello was able to maintain his one-break edge and end the match 6-1 6-4. Cunha was not pleased afterward, slamming his racquets and racquet bag every which way. And who could blame him, really?
Elsewhere, JuanPablo Brzezicki continued his renaissance of late, beating Joao Sousa (Portuguese “s” variety) 7-6(3) 6-2. He’ll play winner of Andre Ghem–Rogerio Dutra Da Silva, who – get this – got halted by a rain delay at 5-6 on serve in the third. Ay yi yi. Your complete results from today’s play:
 Del Bonis d [W] T. Lopes 7-5 7-5
G. Lapentti d Hocevar 7-6(6) 6-4
Alcaide d Giorgini 6-3 4-6 6-3
Ignatik d  Capdeville 7-5 3-6 6-0
Arnaboldi d S. Gonzalez 7-6(4) 6-3
Menendez d  M. Gonzalez 6-4 3-6 6-4
Fabbiano d Zampieri 7-5 1-6 6-0
[Q] Camilo d [W] D. Silva 3-6 7-6(6) 3-2 Ret’d
Stay tuned for a big preview extravaganza going into tomorrow’s play (assuming we’re not back to the rainouts)!