The battle to be amongst the best 16 pairings at the Buenos Aires Padel Master has begun in the neighbourhood of Palermo, in the heart of Argentina's capital.
Galán/Belluati vs Di Nenno/Restivo
The first match on centre court was between the world number 6 pairing, Juan Cruz Belluati and Alejandro Galán, and Juan Manuel Restivo and Martín Di Nenno. The first advantage in the match was for Galan and Belluati who broke early on, making the most of their opponents' doubts. However, Restivo and Di Nenno got into the groove and had four break point chances in the seventh game. The Argentines took the last one to level out a set that headed into a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Di Nenno and Restivo played their best padel to win 7-2. That positive momentum spilled over in the second set where Di Nenno and Restivo were very precise at the net. They broke again in the fourth game, but Galan and Belluati managed to close that scar with a counterbreak in the following game. That seemed to be a turning point for Galan and Belluati who broke again in the seventh game to lead 4-3. Di Nenno and Restivo regained what they'd lost by making the most of Galan and Belluati's inconsistency. The rain started to fall and stopped play for 20 minutes, adding to the drama. Restivo and Di Nenno won in the tiebreak after coming back from 4-2 to reach the second round.
Ruiz/Botello vs Campagnolo/Bergamini
Activity on court 2 started with the clash between Javier Ruiz - Uri Botello and qualifiers Lucas Bergamini and Lucas Campagnolo. Ruiz and Botello struck first with a break in the first game thanks to Botello's court coverage and Ruiz's powerful play. A recipe that worked to break again in the fifth game. Bergamini and Campagnolo struggled to find consistency in a first set which went to the Spanish pairing 6-3. In the second set, Botello and Ruiz dominated again by sticking to their strategy and won 6-3 again in an hour and 30 minutes.
Reca/Poggi vs Cepero/Santana
Centre court staged another attractive duel between Álvaro Cepero - Aday Santana and Fernando Poggi - Gabriel Reca. The match got off to a very even start until the seventh game, when Poggi and Reca took their first chance to break. The experienced Argentine duo conserved that advantage thanks to Reca's control and Poggi's trademark force. The pairing from Buenos Aires won the first set 6-3 in under 40 minutes as there was a sense that Santana and Cepero still had a lot to say. The pairing coached by Horacio Alvarez Clementi cut down their unforced errors and finally started to show their worth by forcing a tiebreak in the second set. Cepero's determination was key to keep the Spanish pairing in it and win the tiebreak 7-3 to force a third set. This was a morale boost for Cepero and Santana who broke twice in the opening five games of the final set to lead 4-1. The writing was on the wall for Reca and Poggi who lost 6-1 in two hours and ten minutes.
Lahoz/Lijó vs Rico/Nieto
The second match on court 2 at La Rural brought together Guillermo Lahoz - Pablo Lijó and Javier Rico - Jorge Nieto. Lijo's tremendous power and Willy's magic gave them a 4-1 advantage in just 14 minutes. Rico and Nieto struggled to get into the match and they looked on as they first set went 6-3 to their opponents in 36 minutes. Lahoz's infernal tempo was helping Lijo to smash the living daylights out of the ball. They broke in the third game of the second set and that was enough to see them sail through 6-4 in an hour and twenty minutes.
Rico/Ruíz vs Grabiel/Moyano
Also looking for a place in the last sixteen on court 2 were José Rico - Víctor Ruiz and Maxi Grabiel - Ramiro Moyano. Both pairings struggled to hold onto serve at the start of the match, with up to four breaks on both sides of the court in the opening eight games. The score was 4-4, with Victor Ruiz hitting hard and well backed up by Jose Rico, while on the other side of the net, Grabiel's control was aided by Moyano's arsenal of shots. There was a short delay because of the rain and once the action restarted, Moyano and Grabiel broke and won the first set 6-4. The script changed into the second set with both pairings holding onto their serves. Moyano and Grabiel broke in the eight game and closed out the match in the ninth, winning 6-3 to progress to the next round.
Díaz/Sánchez vs Gomes/Moreno
The afternoon session began on centre court with the world number three pairing Maximiliano Sánchez and Matías Díaz taking on Ernesto Moreno Carrasco and Francisco ¨Chico" Gomes. The favourites controlled the match by breaking Moreno and Gomes in the first game. At 3-1, the match was stopped because of the rain. It was a 25 minute interruption which didn't change things, as Mati and Maxi made the most of their break to win the first set 6-4. Mati Diaz dominated from the forehand court and stopped every attempt from their opponents to get back in the match. A couple of powerful shots from Maxi Sanchez translated into a 3-1 lead. They held on comfortably until the end to win 6-4 again and close out the match.
Tello/Chingotto vs Rocha/Luque
The last match on court 2 was Antonio Luque - Diogo Rocha versus Federico Chingotto - Juan Tello. Tello and Chingotto came out determined to win the match and broke in the fourth game. Chingotto's control was well accompanied by Tello's breath-taking power. Rocha and Luque found a way back in with a break in the fifth game but their joy was short lived as the Argentines raced away to win the set 6-2. The second set was much more even, with Luque and Rocha digging in deep and avoiding Tello and Chingotto's attempts to break. The break did come eventually in the tenth game and the Argentines won 7-5.
Navarro/Gutiérrez vs Tamame/Gadea
The day came to an end with the world number 2 pairing Paquito Navarro - Sanyo Gutiérrez facing Germán Tamame - Ignacio González Gadea. The court was damp after the rain which, added to the strong wind, made for difficult playing conditions. The pairing that adapted better early on was Navarro-Gutierrez. Minimising their unforced errors and being precise with their shots was key to win the first set 6-3. Paquito and Sanyo broke in the third game of the second set and it seemed as if Gadea and Tamame were going to hand over the win when they faced two break points in the fifth game. But they came out unscathed and that gave them the belief to take on the world number two pairing by breaking and making it 4-4. But the favourites showed their class and intelligence to break again and put an end to the rebellion. They won 6-4 and moved on to the second round.
That's how the first day ended at the Buenos Aires Padel Master.