Fabio Fognini upsets Dominic Thiem to delight Rome fans - UBITENNIS
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Fabio Fognini upsets Dominic Thiem to delight Rome fans

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Italian hero Fabio Fognini stunned last week’s Madrid finalist Dominic Thiem 6-4 1-6 6-3 on a widy day in two hours and five minutes just two days after clinching his milestone 300th career win of his career to reach the third round on the Centre Court at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in the Foro Italico in Rome.

Fognini celebrated his second win against a top 10 player in two consecutive editions of the Italian Open in front of his home fans one year after beating Andy Murray.

Fognini got the first break of the match in the third game of the opening set and held his serve at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Fognini missed a double break point at 4-2. Thiem pulled the break back at 15 in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. As Thiem was serving at 4-4 15-40 Fognini hit a low backhand, which the Austrian player struck into the net, and broke serve. Fognini held his serve easily to close out the first set 6-4 with a crosscourt backhand.

Thiem got a double break in the second and fourth games with a backhand drop volley and a forehand error from Fognini to cruise through to a 5-0 lead dropping just seven points en route to winning the second set 6-1.

The third set went on serve with no break points in the first five games. Thiem held his serve in the 14-minute sixth game after saving five break points at 2-3. Fognini fended off two break points in the seventh game by winning six consecuive points from 15-40 to take a 4-3 lead before earning the only break of the decisive set on his second break point chance in the eight game, when Thiem hit a forehand wide. Fognini served out the match with a service winner on his second match point to score the 11th win over a top 10 player in his career in front of his delighted home fans. It was a remarkable win for Fognini, who beat Thiem, who upset Rafael Nadal just five days ago in Madrid en route to reaching the Madrid Masters 1000 final. Fognini will face German Peter Gojowczyk in the third round.

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Marin Cilic cruises past Denis Shapovalov in Basel first round

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Third seed Marin Cilic cruised past Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-2 to advance to the second round at the Swiss Indoor Open at St. Jakobshalle in Basel.

Cilic went up a double break in the first and third games to race out to a 4-0 lead. Schapovalov pulled one break back in the sixth game at deuce and held his serve at 30 to close the gap to 3-4. Cilic did not face any break points in his final two service games to close the first set 6-4 after 41 minutes.

Cilic went up an immediate break at 15 in the opening game of the second set after a forehand error from Shapovalov to open up a 3-1 lead. Shapovalov saved a break point with a service winner to hold his serve at deuce for 2-3. Cilic sealed the win with a double break in the seventh game at 30 with a double fault from Shapovalov and hold of serve at 15 in the 8th game. Shapovalov made 23 unforced errors in the second set.

Cilic will face either Marius Copil or Ryan Harrison in the second round. The 30-year-old Croatian player won the Basel title in 2016 and reached the semifinal in 2017. This year he won the Queen’s title and reached the final at the Australian Open. The number 3 seed is one of the three top 10 players in a line-up which also features home star Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev. In the second round the Basel-born 20-time Grand Slam legend could face John Millman, who will open his campaign against Jan-Lennard Struff. Millman upset Federer in the fourth round at this year’s US Open.

Swiss player Henri Laaksonen beat this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-2 to score his first win against a top-25 player. Laaksonen needed a break at deuce in the ninth game to win the first set. The Swiss player converted his third break point chance in the third game of the second set and saved a break point to hold his serve to open up a 3-1 lead. He sealed the win with a double break in the seventh game at deuce and a hold of serve at 30 in the final game.

Elsewhere Taylor Fritz beat Serbian qualifier Laslo Djere 7-5 6-0.

The Basel line-up features three players who recently showed good form: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Danil Medvedev and Adrian Mannarino. Tsitsipas won his maiden ATP title in Stockolm. Medvedev won his third trophy of year in three different continents (Sydney, Winston Salem and Tokyo). Manarino lost in the Moscow final against Karen Khachanov.

 

 

 

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Karen Khachanov fulfills his dream to win in front of his home fans in Moscow

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Karen Khachanov cruised past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-2 in just 54 minutes to clinch the third ATP title of his career and the second of his season in front of his home fans. With this title the Moscow native has broken the top 20 in the ATP Ranking for the first time in his career. Mannarino was still seeking his first title.

Khachanov served at 78 percent and he dropped 11 points in 8 service games, fending off the only break point he faced in the match. Mannarino dropped his serve four times from the six break point chances he faced.

The 22-year-old Russian player earned his first break of the match in the third game, when he forced an error from Mannarino. He hit a return winner to get the double break for 5-2 in the seventh game earning a chance to serve for the set. He closed out the set with a service winner in the next game after 24 minutes.

Khachanov went up an early break at the start of the second set after Mannarino made a double fault. Khachanov earned a double break in the third game with a net cord winner. Mannarino created a break point in the fourth game, but Khachanov held on his serve with a service winner. He served out the match 6-2 with a forehand winner to clinch his 39th win of the season.

With this win Khachanov put an end to the nine-year title drought in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.  The last Russian player to win in the Russian capital was Mikhail Youzhny.

“Winning in Russia was one of the dreams I had when I was a kid. Coming here as a kid, I was asking top Russian players for autographs and dreaming one day to become a champion one day. Today I am very happy. These are memories I will always keep in my head. I started really well. I was very aggressive and I didn’t give any chances for Mannarino to step in to the match and get some rhythm. That was one of the keys”, said Khachanov.

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Emotional Kyle Edmund Roars His Way To First ATP Title In Antwerp

The 23-year-old is only the second British man to have won an ATP title within the last 10 years.

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British No.1 Kyle Edmund has won the biggest title of his career after battling back from a set down to edge out Gael Monfils 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4), at the European Open in Antwerp.

The world No.15, who was the top seed in an ATP tournament for the first time in his career, withstood a big scared from his more experienced French rival. After dropping the opening set, he then lost a 4-1 advantage during the second. Nevertheless, Edmund held his nerve to close it out in a tiebreaker before doing the same in the deciding set.

“I’m obviously very happy. A lot of hard work has gone into this.” An emotional Edmund said following the match.
“This is special. You always remember your first one (winning a title). Gael made me work hard today, that’s for sure. Credit to him. I’m just so happy.”

Playing in his second tour final at the age of 23, Edmund withstood a total of 17 aces that was produced by Monfils. During the match, he claimed 77% of his first service points and saved four out of the six break points he faced. Edmund ends his week in Antwerp losing just two of his service games, which was against Monfils in Sunday’s final.

“I just tried to focus on what got me to the final.” The Brit commented about his comeback. “A lot of things were going well, I didn’t have a lot of negativity in the other matches. It was all one-way traffic. This was the first time I had some resistance and problem solving. So that was a new thing for me that I had to work out.”

Besides Andy Murray, Edmund is the first British player to win a title on the men’s tour since Greg Rusedski back in 2005. Earlier this year, he reached the final of the Moroccan where he lost in straight sets to Pablo Andujar. Since then, Edmund has been working on trying to improve his consistency on the tour. Antwerp is the third tournament in a row where he has reached the quarter-finals or better after Beijing and Shanghai.

“You’re always aware of the opportunity you have. It was my second final and stringing enough matches together consistently to win tournaments, it always has always let me down. That has been one of my goals, to stay consistent.” He explained.

Edmund is the 13th player this year to win their first title on the ATP World Tour. He will next travel to Vienna, where he will be the eighth seed in the Erste Bank Open.

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