Our final male featured player comes from the South American continent and is 21-year old former Junior Davis Cup player for Brazil, Fernando Romboli. Romboli ended 2010 playing in four ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in the southeastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.
The first stop of this tour of Sao Paulo state took Romboli to the northwest region and the city of Aracatuba. Here he was competing in a clay court tournament and was seeded fourth in the singles event and the top seed in doubles with Brazilian partner Marcelo Demoliner. Romboli opened his account here with a convincing 62 62 defeat of Diego Matos and then followed this up with another straight sets victory in the second round, winning 75 64 over Gabriel Dias. These two wins set Romboli up with a quarterfinal showdown against his doubles partner this week and seventh seed, Marcelo Demoliner. The first set went against Romboli but he hit back to level the match with a 7-3 tiebreak win. The decisive third set only lasted one game, won by Romboli, as Demoliner was forced to retire from the match, handing Romboli a 36 76(3) 10 ret. win and with it, a semifinal spot. In his semifinal Romboli’s participation in the singles competition came to an end as he suffered a three set 64 46 63 defeat to the No. 1 seed from Argentina, Facundo Bagnis, who was to be the only non-Brazilian opponent Romboli would face in singles play this month! The Argentine top seed would go on to take the title and the one set that Romboli took off him in their semifinal encounter was the only set dropped all week by the champion. A title win did come his way in the doubles event though. As the No. 1 seeded pair, Romboli and Demoliner saw off all-comers in straight sets to secure the title.
The city of Guarulhos staged Romboli’s next tournament, again on clay and as the singles event’s fourth seed. He did not take part in the doubles event here. In the opening round Romboli faced a Brazilian qualifier in Caio Silva and having taken the opening set with the loss of just two games, Romboli surprisingly dropped the second set but this proved only a brief set back as he powered onto an expected victory in the third set, winning 62 57 61. A second Brazilian qualifier provided his round two opposition and this time Romboli triumphed in straight sets, 63 64. Seeded opposition faced him in the quarterfinal in the shape of Danilo Ferraz, who was the eighth seed in Guarulhos. Romboli claimed a second successive quarterfinal win with a score that echoed his opening round win. The first set was quickly wrapped up 61 before Ferraz looked to make a comeback with a 63 second set win. The final set though was more in keeping with the play of the first set as Romboli raced through to the semifinal with a 61 36 62 win. Facing him across the net for a place in the final was the No. 2 seed Daniel Silva. A close contest was won in straight sets 63 64 by Romboli taking him into a fifth singles final this year. With two wins and two losses from his previous four finals he was either going to emerge from this final with a positive or negative finals win-loss record. Looking to stop him leaving with the title was the No. 5 seed, Leonardo Kirche. Coming into this final, Kirche had only dropped one set all week, coming in the first set of his semifinal win, so it was somewhat of a shock to all, Romboli included I would imagine, when the match ended in a crushing 61 60 victory for Romboli, giving him a career sixth ITF Pro Circuit singles title.
For his third tournament this month, once again on clay, Romboli travelled to the city of Sorocaba and was named the No. 2 seed in the singles event. Here, Romboli also made a return to doubles, partnering Rodrigo Guidolin as the No. 1 seeds. Having been granted a walkover victory in the opening round of the doubles event, Romboli and Guidolin were knocked out in the second round, losing 10-8 on a match tiebreak to Charles Costa and Danilo Ferraz, who would go on to take the title later in the week. There was no early exit for Romboli in the singles event though, first Lucas Dourado, a Lucky Loser entrant, was seen off 61 61 and his next opponent, Andrew Lauret, retired from their match with Romboli having taken the first set 62. Fifth seeded Jose Pereira was then stunned in the opening set of their quarterfinal as Romboli eased to a 60 win. Pereira put up more of a fight in the second set but was ultimately unable to halt Romboli’s charge into the semifinal for the third tournament running, eventually losing 60 76(3). Romboli’s semifinal opponent was Leonardo Kirche which presented the fourth seed with the chance to gain quick revenge for the crushing defeat he suffered at the hands of Romboli in the previous week’s final. However, this was not to be and it was Romboli who once again ran out a straight sets winner although the 64 63 scoreline went some way to erasing the memories of his previous 61 60 loss. For many, the day of the final started with the exchanging of presents and good wishes before settling into a day of Christmas celebrations, but for Romboli, and Thales Turini his sixth seeded opponent in the final, any celebrating was put on hold until after this Christmas Day final. As the final got underway, Romboli quickly showed he was not going to allow the festive spirit to provide any distractions and in a performance that Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” would have been proud of, Romboli dominated in a one-sided final to triumph 62 61 and win his second title in as many weeks.
Finally, in the lead up to the end of 2010, Romboli took to the court to compete in his fourth tournament of the month which was held in the city of Sao Paulo. Coming into this hard court tournament Romboli received the news that he had broken into the ATP World Top 300 for the first time in his singles career. Unfortunately this was to be the only good news for Romboli, unseeded for this tournament, as he crashed out in a three set 64 46 61 defeat in the second round to the fifth seeded Wild Card entrant Ricardo Hocevar having previously defeated Danilo Ferraz for the second time this month in the opening round 61 64. His singles participation last only marginally longer than his appearance with Eduardo Russi in the doubles event as the Wild Card pairing were eliminated in the opening round in a narrow 75 76(0) loss. On a plus point these early exits provided him with more time to prepare for New Year’s Eve celebrations although a third straight title would have been the ideal way to bring 2010 to a close.
This strong end to the year brought the young Brazilian’s career stats up to a total of seven singles titles from nine finals and a total of eighteen doubles titles from an incredible twenty-nine finals and now being in the ATP Top 300 he will be looking to climb even higher in 2011.