Finally The Fiery Fabio Fognini Wins Big In Men’s Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Finally The Fiery Fabio Fognini Wins Big In Men’s Tennis

After 51 years Italy finally has another winner in Monte Carlo.

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Fabio Fognini - Montecarlo 2019 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

After years of expectation mounted upon him back in his home country, Fabio Fognini has finally proven his critics wrong with a surprise run to the Monte Carlo Masters title.

 

The 31-year-old has always been amongst the best of the world, but he rarely stood out during an era dominated by the presence of the Big Four. He broke into the world’s top 20 almost six years ago in July 2013. Since then, he has spent the majority of the time as the highest ranked player from his country. Then in 2018 he became the first Italian to win three ATP titles within a season since 1977.

Despite his accolades, Fognini had never managed to shine in the biggest tournaments until this week. At the Monte Carlo Country Club he stunned Rafael Nadal on route to the final. Becoming only the fourth player in history to defeat the Spaniard for a third time on the clay. Then in the final, he overcame the less experienced Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4. Becoming the first Italian champion of the tournament since Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968, who watched his match from the sidelines.

“I’m happy because I just won a tournament. The consequence is my best ranking.” Fognini said during his press conference.
“I just feel happy because I won a big tournament that was always my goal in my career.
“I think everybody, when you’re growing up and you start and you decide to play tennis, you are dreaming to win a big tournament. We are talking about Masters Series and the next one is a Grand Slam. So this is the second in the line.”

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It is fitting that the biggest triumph of Fognini’s career should happen in this tournament. He was born in Sanremo, which is located in North Western Italy. The City itself is located less than 50 Km away from the venue of the Monte Carlo Masters. A place he grew up playing at.

“I feel really great now, because this is the tournament, home tournament, because I was born in Sanremo, and I was practicing here when I was young. I know really well this tennis club.” Fognini reflected.
“Friends and family are happy now, because I have my name on this tournament. That is something that when I was really young I was dreaming of.” He added.

Besides his talent, Fognini also has a reputation of being one of the more animated players on the court. Something that has gotten him in trouble in the past. The most notable occasion was in 2017 when he received a suspended ban for verbally abusing an umpire during the US Open. An incident he later apologised for.

Now in his 30s, Fognini will achieve a new milestone in his career on Monday. When the rankings are updated, he will rise to a best of 12th. Edging closer to a place in the top 10 that he eluded him so far in his career.

“It was really tough beginning of the year for me, actually, because I played really good last year, and I felt at one point during that year that I was really close to the top 10. I was close around US Open, but I always play really bad there.” He said.
“And the second chance that I had was in China, where I was playing really good. I lost the final with three match points against (Bernard) Tomic. Then the week after I was playing really good. I had semifinal. I had to pull out against Delpo.”

It remains to be seen how much of a threat Fognini can pose at the French Open. The only grand slam he has reached the quarter-finals at back in 2011. However, his immediate focus will be on his health. During the final, he had his right leg tapped. Fognini is meant to be playing at the Barcelona Open, which will get underway on Monday.

“I have to be honest. I’m tired, and now, I don’t know, I feel pain on my legs.” He admits. “I think I have to wait minimum two days before going there and making a decision in Barcelona.’
“I’m tired. I mean, it’s normal. End of the tournament. Winning my first 1000, so mentally now I’m tired, but really, really happy.”

Fognini now has nine ATP titles to his name with eight of those being won on the clay.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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