Luciano Darderi holds high the tricolor in Houston

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Luciano Darderi victorious

Luciano Darderi successfully passed the first round at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship, an ATP 250 tournament played on clay with a prize pool of $661,585. The tournament is being held April 1-7 at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston.

Darderi, the only Italian on the roster, currently ranked No. 75 in the world, è considered a clay specialist. He has played 11 of his 13 matches on the major circuit on this surface, and a total of 128 matches out of 131 at the Challenger level.

This time he è prevailed over U.S. Denis Kudla, ranked number 163, in a match that è was decided in the third set with the score of 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2. Darderi showed great determination, saving three match points at 5-6 in the second set.

The U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship tournament has a long history, having been played since 1910. È the only event on the ATP circuit that is played on clay. Over the years, the tournament has changed venues several times, with editions played in Omaha, Indianapolis, Charleston, Kiawah Island, Charlotte, Birmingham, Pinehurst and Orlando before finally settling in Houston in 2001.

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