The most frequent site of the Italian ITF events is Forte Village Resort in Santa Margherita di Pula and Italy F30 Futures is taking place there this week. In the opening round on Monday, an 18-year-old Mike Loccisano defeated Filippo Bettini 7-6 6-7 7-6 in a jaw-dropping four hours and seven minutes, making it one of the longest three-setters ever! This was the third pro win for the young German and he had to give his best to earn it, wasting a 5-3 lead in the deciding set before bringing the match home in the tie break after an extraordinary battle.
There were exactly 300 points up for grabs and the German claimed 151, just two more than his rival who fought for every point until the very end. Mike had 17 double faults and he saved nine out of 15 break points to stay in contention and reach those tie breaks, also converting all six break points he earned to find himself on the winning side.
Loccisano played better on the first serve while Bettini had the edge on the second and really nothing could separate them overall for one of the most impressive matches of the season in terms of length. The youngster saved three break points in the third game of the match and they both served well until the tie break where Mike saved a set point at 5-6 to steal the breaker 8-6 after an hour and 16 minutes.
The second set lasted equally the same and they traded breaks in games two and three and we saw good holds on both sides when Loccisano scored a break to move 6-5 up, serving for the match in the following game. He got broken but still had a chance to wrap up the match in straight sets after a match point at 7-6 in the tie break.
Out of sudden, Filippo won three straight points to steal the set just like his rival did in the opener and they went into a deciding set after almost two hours and 40 minutes of play. Set number three proved to be the longest one with 108 points and more than an hour and a half of a grueling battle that helped them pass the magical four-hour mark.
Loccisano converted all four break points he created and he saved five out of nine break chances he gave to the Italian to stay in the contention. Bettini wasted three game points in the second game to lose serve and the youngster moved 3-0 after another good hold.
The Italian won 10 of the next 12 points to pull the break back and reduce the deficit to 3-2 but Mike won four straight points in the sixth game to grab another break and move 4-2 up. He wasted three game points that could have pushed him 5-2 up and Filippo broke back to return on the positive side of the scoreboard.
The match was already almost four hours long and it was hard to find the strength or focus, especially for the Italian who suffered another break in the following point to find himself 5-3 down. The drama reached its peak in the ninth game when Loccisano had four match points, wasting all of those after three double faults and allowing his rival to break back again to extend this already epic encounter.
Bettini finally found the way to score an easy hold in game 10 and the momentum was now on his side, breaking Mike in the following game to move 6-5 ahead and serve for the triumph after the break. From 30-0, he lost four points ina row to suffer a break and the winner had to be decided in the deciding tie break.
There, the German won four of the last five points from 3-3 to grab the breaker 7-4 and enter his name in the history books as the winner of one of the longest best-of-three professional men's matches. ALSO READ: ATP Beijing: Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov sail into round two