A year ago, Marco Cecchinato was ranked 92nd and had to qualify to enter the main draw in Budapest. Jurgen Zopp defeated him in the second qualifying round but there was the second chance waiting around the corner, entering the main draw as a lucky loser (Laslo Djere was forced to withdraw) and using the opportunity with both hands to go all the way and claim the title.
Heading to Budapest with just five ATP wins under his belt, Marco took down Mirza Basic and Damir Dzumhur in great style to reach the quarters where he came from a set down against Jan-Lennard Struff to advance into the last four.
There, Cecchinato prevailed in the battle of the Italians against Andreas Seppi for the place in the final, toppling John Millman in straight sets to become the ninth lucky loser with an ATP title in the Open era, the first since Andrey Rublev and Leonardo Mayer in July 2017.
The results were not that good in Munich, Rome and Geneva but Marco was now ready to chase much higher goals, beating Pablo Carreno Busta, David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Paris to reach Roland Garros semi-final where he lost to Dominic Thiem after a great battle in the opening two sets.
Marco added another title to his tally two months later in Umag and conquered Buenos Aires as well this February, standing in the top-20 since October last year. Unfortunately, the Italian will not be able to defend the title in Budapest, seeded third behind Marin Cilic and Borna Coric but withdrawing due to an illness.
Cecchinato will try to recover for the next week's ATP 250 event in Munich and get a chance to earn points again, grabbing only 65 between Budapest and Roland Garros last spring. Marco has won eight matches on the Tour so far in 2019 and besides that Buenos Aires title he also played in the semi-final in Doha in the first week of the season.