Photo: Gianluca VignaliDan Kleckner (AUT)
Dan Kleckner became one of two Austrian players to reach the men’s singles semifinals on Friday’s first day of the Internazionale d'Italia, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, after fending off Italian wild card Massimiliano Banci in three sets at the Foro Italico in Rome.
With Banci receiving a late entry into the tournament following the withdrawal of Michael Jeremiasz of France, he recovered from dropping all six games in the opening set to force a decider. However, Kleckner held on for a 60 26 63 victory to join Martin Legner in the last four of the tournament, the latest NEC Tour fixture to take place alongside a men’s and women’s tour event.
Kleckner goes on to face top seed Stephane Houdet for a place in the final, while Legner plays second seed Gordon Reid after both Houdet and Reid recorded comfortable 60 61 victories. Houdet eased past fellow Frenchman Lahcen Majdi, while Reid beat the Slovak Republic’s David Chabrecek. However, the day’s most comprehensive victory belonged to Legner after he ended the hopes of Italy’s Fabian Mazzei 60 60.
As well as the men’s singles semifinals, Saturday’s second day of play will also see the start of the men’s doubles, with top seeds Houdet and Legner taking on Chabrecek and Reid. Second seeds Majdi and Mazzei play Banci and Kleckner for a place in the final.