Considering how difficult they found playing football under Gigi Delneri earlier in the season, Ballardini's impact has been obvious, with Genoa surprisingly good in the first half, more than matching their opponents.
Still, it was a half which saw little in the way of goalmouth action before Juraj Kucka opened the scoring, though Juan Manuel Vargas flashed a couple of efforts wide from the edge of the box. Cesare Bovo's free-kick found Kucka lurking at the back post just short of a quarter-of-an-hour into the match, though his header hit the side netting, before Antonio Di Natale curled a set-piece harmlessly over Sébastien Frey's bar.
The opening goal came just after the half-hour mark, when Udinese keeper Daniele Padelli flapped at a corner, completely missing the ball which landed at the feet of a grateful Kucka, who stabbed the ball into the empty net and open the scoring.
The visitors had a couple of chances of their own before the break, with Giovanni Pasquale going close before Maicosuel fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box. In the second half, the zebrette were unsurprisingly the dominant side, though the did concede a couple of chances too.
Genoa's Luca Antonelli volleyed wide from inside the area before Marco Borriello's cross caused panic in Padelli's box, though the grifone couldn't kill the game. With just over 20 minutes remaining, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu should have scored an equaliser, though after charging into the area, he dragged his shot wide.
Genoa (3-5-1-1): Sébastien Frey; Thomas Manfredini, Daniele Portanova, Cesare Bovo; Luca Antonelli, Juan Manuel Vargas (Emiliano Moretti 59), Dániel Tőzsér, Juaraj Kucka, Marco Rossi (Ferronetti 84); Andrea Bertolacci (Marco Rigoni 75); Marco Borriello
Udinese (3-5-1-1): Daniele Padelli; Maurizio Domizzi, Gabriele Angella, Mehdi Benatia; Giovanni Pasquale (Alexander Merkel 79), Andrea Lazzari (Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu 10), Allan, Roberto Pereyra, Dušan Basta; Maicosuel ( Luis Muriel 52); Antonio Di Natale
Goals: Kucka 33 (G)