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Rejuvenated Italians make their mark at SW19

Andreas Seppi attempts a backhand strike.
by Benjamin Snyder
Monday 1 July 2013

Sara Errani, the No.5 seed, may have crashed out on Day One of The Championships this year in singles, but Italians have enjoyed success at the All England Club in the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ events as well as in the early rounds of the Junior tournament.

Heading into the fourth round on Day Seven, four players were still in the tournament: No.23 Andreas Seppi, No.11 Roberta Vinci, No.104 Karin Knapp and No.166 Flavia Pennetta. However,  by the end of the day the Italian contingent went 0-4 as they tried to make the quarter-finals.

Seppi faced a tough ask in attempting to defeat the 2009 US Open champion and No. 8 Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina. Seppi, who enjoys a perfect record in the seven five-set matches he’s played in 2013, was attempting to become the third  Italian man in the Open era to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals. In the end, however, he was unable to handle the tremendous forehand of Del Potro, losing 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-3 in over two hours.

For the Italian women, the appearance of Vinci, Knapp and Pennetta in the fourth round marked the second consecutive year that three Italians advanced so far at the All England Club. Each, however, succumbed to their higher-ranked opponents in straight sets.

But while the senior players may have struggled to repeat the form that brought them to the second week of Wimbledon in singles, Italian juniors have made a good start to their campaigns. Of the five boys and girls who have started, four advanced to the second round, including Gianluigi Quinzi, Filippo Baldi, Stefano Napolitano and Alice Matteucci. Deborah Chiesa, however, fell in a close three-set battle with Sandra Samir, losing 7-5 in the third.

In the doubles Errani and Vinci are the No. 1 seeds and they are into the second round. Last year they had a 25-match win streak, which included titles at Roland Garros and the US Open. This year, they claimed the Australian Open title  along with scoring wins at the indoor Paris event and in Doha. At Roland Garros the duo reached the final.

In mixed doubles, Francesca Schiavone, the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam at the 2010 French Open, is into the second round with partner Rajeev Ram.

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