American player Marcos Giron's short yet gutsy underdog story at the 2022 Italian Open

Giron was not even supposed to take part in the main draw of the competition after a heartbreaking loss in the final qualifying match of the tournament.

Marcos Giron in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)

It’s a rare thing to get second chances in life and that holds especially true in the world of sport. What is important is what one does with those second chances? Do they blow it or take it and run with it? Looking at American tennis player Marcos Giron at the 2022 ATP Italian Open, the latter tends to true so far. Giron was not even supposed to take part in the main draw of the competition after a heartbreaking loss in the final qualifying match of the tournament. The American failed to make it count in that match against Dutch tennis player Tallon Griekspoor. The match ended with a straight sets defeat for the American (7-6, 6-2). Although he did fight hard in the first set, the Dutchman just edged him. Giron might have lost his confidence coming into the second set and that eventually cost him the match.

A second chance

As the 28-year-old was packing his bags for his hometown of California, life gave him a second chance. The American was named a ‘lucky loser’, which meant that he would compete in the Italian Open after all. Nobody expects Giron to win, perhaps he himself does not expect to win, but what Giron did know when he received the news is that he had to take this rare opportunity and run with it. And run with it he did.

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As a qualifer, facing some of the greats in world tennis in the main draws of an ATP 1000 competition is a daunting task, no matter how great the opportunity. The nerves can easily mess up someone’s psyche which could lead to the player having one of the worst games of their career. That is not good in the long run. It can completely crush someone’s morale and confidence, something they might never recover from. However, if one overcame those nerves and kept their head clear, there is always a chance of victory. Sometimes, that one chance is all one needs. That has been the case with Giron so far in the Italian Open.

One of the little guys in tennis

It was never going to be easy. To be honest, making it through one round was going to be a task and a half. Giron is not someone from who people have a lot of expectation. 28 years old and a qualifier, tennis fans are not really that big into people like that. One of the little guys in tennis, Giron’s successes have usually evaded the public eye.

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The American beat a much higher-ranked player in Alexander Bublik 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round. Imagine a comeback victory for someone who had not even made it through the qualifiers? Pretty amazing. That one victory instilled in him the confidence he needed for the time being. The draw for the second round saw Giron going up against Argentine tennis player and 12th seed Diego Schwartzman.

Believing, even when nobody did

Schwartzman, who is a multiple time ATP title-winner, is considered one of the best tennis players in the world today. Things were never going to be easy for Giron against him. Everyone believed that the American would be easy pickings for the decorated Argentine veteran. One person who thought that the 28-year-old could defeat Schwartzman, was Giron himself. The match started and the very first saw a confident, calm and composed Giron take a 6-1 victory.

The Argentine, however, was never one to lie down and take a defeat. Fighting back was on Schwartzan’s blood and he did exactly that. “A comeback victory, then,” fans throught. The Argentine’s experience played a huge part in the second set as he started to rack up the points. There was one problem, though. Giron was simultaneously racking up the points. There was no stopping the American from what he wanted to achieve in that particular set, a win. It went to the tie break and after a while of back and forth tennis, Giron had his hand up as the victor over Diego Schwartzman. The world of tennis looked on in shock and acknowledged the 28-year-old American who took his second chance, grabbed it by the scruff of its neck and made something out of it. The American did fall to a round of 16 defeat against eighth seed Felix Auger-Alliasme, but his short story in the 2022 Italian is a classic underdog tale, one that inspires.

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