Russia’s Karen Khachanov became an early casualty at the 2019 Sofia Open when he was knocked out in the second round by Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
The top seeded Khachanov clinched the first set but his Italian opponent came back strongly to win the match 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 and enter the quarter-final stage for the first time in 2019.
And it could have been a lot easier for Berrettini too as he led 5-3 in the first set but his world number 11 opponent came back to level the score and take it to the tie-breaker.
However, Berrettini came back strongly to break Khachanov twice in the next two sets to win the match and enter the quarter-final round.
Speaking at the end of the match, Berrettini said he was elated with the victory and felt it was a high-quality match.
“I was really focused in the second set. I was feeling better and better… I lost against him twice when we were juniors, so I’m really happy.”
The 22-year-old Italian had earlier won his first ever ATP tournament last July at the Swiss Open, but his struggles this season before this tournament could be seen from the fact he hadn’t won two successive matches in 2019.
Here he has already beaten Denis Istomin and Khachanov and will now take on either Fernando Verdasco or Marius Copil in the quarter-finals.
Also advancing to the quarter-final stage of the Sofia Open is the fourth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, who did something similar as Berrettini. After losing the first set to Matthew Ebden, he came back to win the remaining two to advance to the last-eight stage.
The remaining second round matches at the ATP Sofia will be played on Thursday.