© Johan Lilja/Nordea Open

Marco Cecchinato levels his ATP Head2Head series with Richard Gasquet at 1-1 with a win on Monday in Bastad.

An Idol, Now A Rival: Cecchinato Beats Gasquet In Bastad

The Italian triumphs in three sets

Italian Marco Cecchinato beat former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 on Monday to reach the second round at the Nordea Open in Bastad. The victory meant more than a typical three-set triumph for the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist.

“I’m very happy for today because I beat Richard for the first time in my career,” Cecchinato said. “When I was young, he was my idol, so I’m very happy to beat him.”

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Cecchinato, who will next face Francisco Cerundolo or Federico Coria, remembers watching Gasquet compete in the Nitto ATP Finals. The 28-year-old has a one-handed backhand like the Frenchman, and enjoys playing a similarly artistic game.

“So many years he was in the Top 10. He was like me with the one-handed backhand, his forehand, good kick, good drop shot,” said Cecchinato, who will next face Francisco Cerundolo or Federico Coria. “He was my idol for that, so I’m very happy with this match today.”

Wild card Elias Ymer made a good start on home soil, as the Swede clawed past Japan's Taro Daniel 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-4 after trailing by a break in the third set. This was his first ATP Tour main draw win since Bastad in 2019.

"At home the energy is different. You want to give your best and, to be honest, I was close today to getting a win quickly. I was up 6-2, 5-3, serving at 30-Love," Ymer said. "Today was a good day. Tennis is uncertain. He came back, credit to him and it was [about] the fighting spirit."

In other first-round action, German Yannick Hanfmann beat Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 6-2, 7-5. Hanfmann will next play Czech Jiri Vesely or Italian Salvatore Caruso.

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