There was little time for J.J. Wolf to find his feet Monday in Florence thanks to a lightning-fast start by Francesco Maestrelli, but the American clicked into gear to rally to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 first-round victory at the UniCredit Firenze Open.
#NextGenATP Italian Maestrelli enjoyed the perfect opening to his tour-level main-draw debut as he broke Wolf’s serve in the first game of the match. The 19-year-old home wild card backed that early success up with strong serving to seal the first set, but Wolf’s greater consistency then proved decisive as the World No. 72 clinched a one-hour, 56-minute comeback win.
“He’s a super good young player, a lot of credit to him,” said Wolf after the match. “I didn’t even think I came out that badly. He really made me play in that first game and he was serving huge. If you’re making mistakes, you’re going to lose that match, so I really had to lock it down.”
The 23-year-old Wolf fired 16 winners to Maestrelli’s 20 but was particularly aggressive on return, converting four from eight break point chances to set a second-round meeting against fellow American Maxime Cressy.
Roberto Carballes Baena will take on home favourite and second seed Matteo Berrettini in the second round after the Spaniard cruised past Daniel Elahi Galan 6-2, 6-1. A confident Carballes Baena secured victory in 74 minutes to back up his excellent form on the ATP Challenger Tour in recent weeks — he lifted his 10th title at that level in Seville in early September before reaching quarter-finals in Szczecin and Parma.
Also on Monday, fifth seed Aslan Karatsev advanced after Tallon Griekspoor retired from the pair’s first-round match. Karatsev had led 6-3, 2-1 when the Dutchman was forced to stop, and the three-time tour-level titlist next faces Tim van Rijthoven or Mikael Ymer.