“Always Kept Fighting”: Lorenzo Sonego Becomes First Italian in 15 Years to Lift Title on Home Soil

Published 04/11/2021, 3:21 PM EDT
Mar 30, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Lorenzo Sonego of Italy hits a backhand against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Italian tennis star Lorenzo Sonego claimed his second career Tour title on Sunday as he beat Serbian Laslo Djere in the final of the Sardegna Open. The 25-year-old Italian fought back from a set down and tricky tie-breaker in the second to lift the trophy in Cagliari, becoming the first Italian in 15 years to win a Tour championship on home soil.

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Filippo Volandri was the last Italian to lift an ATP crown on his home turf. The former World No.25 won a Tour championship at Palermo in 2006.

Lorenzo Sonego says he held his nerve even after dropping the opening set against Laslo Djere

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Sharing his thoughts on the fiercely fought title clash, Sonego said what made the difference, in the end, was the way he held his nerve and was assured in the belief that he could fight his way into the contest after dropping the first set.

“The match was long and I remained calm in the second-set tie-break,” said Sonego, adding, “I knew the match wasn’t finished as I had always kept fighting.”

Currently ranked 34th in singles and seeded third in the tournament, Turin-born Sonego said that though he was exhausted at the end of a long battle, he was happy to have come out on the winning side.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Mexican Open – The Fairmont Acapulco Princess, Acapulco, Mexico – March 17, 2021, Serbia’s Laslo Djere in action during his second round match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Carlos Perez-Gallardo

And the fact that his win amid his cheering home team made it all the more fulfilling according to him.

“It’s wonderful to win the title with all my team here. I am happy to follow in Volandri’s footsteps and win a title on home soil,” the 25-year-old said.

Lorenzo Sonego paired up with countrymate Andrea Vavassori to make it a Cup double at Sardegna Open

Djere seemed to be on course to lifting his third career Tour title after breezing through the opening set, but the Italian took the second to a tie-break and won it 7-5 to force a decider.

With the momentum now with him, Sonego got a decisive break of serve in the final set and held on to his lead to eventually see off the Serb 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

The defeat also brought to an end the 57th-ranked Serbian’s 9-match unbeaten streak on Italian soil.

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Sonego later combined with countrymate Andrea Vavassori to clinch the doubles title as well, making it a Cup double.

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The last Italian to do so was Matteo Berrettini at the 2018 Swiss Open in Gstaad.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

854 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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