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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Novak Djokovic battles past Diego Schwartzman to set up a blockbuster final against Rafael Nadal in Rome

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Novak Djokovic battled past Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 in the semifinal of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia setting up a blockbuster final against Rafael Nadal.

 

In their previous head-to-head match Djokovic recovered from 2 sets to one down to win in five sets at 2017 Roland Garros.

Both players played a good match, but Djokovic raised his level in the most decisive moments of the match. Djokovic was not affected by his 3-hour marathon match against Juan Martin Del Potro, where he saved two match points.

Djokovic won another thrilling match after 2 hours and 31 minutes against Schwartzman reaching his 9th final in Rome and his 49th title match at Masters 1000 level.

Djokovic converted four of his five break points and dropped his serve twice.

Djokovic got his first break in the eighth game, when Schwartzman netted a backhand. Djokovic held his serve with three winners in the ninth game to close out the opening set 6-3 after 38 minutes.

Djokovic and Schwartzman traded four consecutive breaks from 3-2 in the second set. Schwartzman went up a break twice at 4-2 and 5-3, but Djokovic broke back both times in the seventh and ninth games to draw level to 5-5 setting up a tie-break. Schwartzman took two mini-breaks and won all points on serve to win the tie-break 7-2 forcing the match to the third set.

In the third set they traded five service games before Djokovic earned the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, when Schwartzman made a backhand error. The Serbian player held serve in the ninth game to secure his spot in the final.

Djokovic and Nadal will meet for the 54th time. The Serbian player leads 28-25 in his head-to-head matches against the Spaniard. Both players hold the record of 33 Masters 1000 titles.

“He keeps on showing to the world why Nadal is one of the biggest legends of tennis history. I have the greatest respect for him. He is my greatest of all time. Every time we get to play each other, it’s a thrill. It’s the ultimate challenge”, said Djokovic.  

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Novak Djokovic Keeps Faith Ahead Of Schwartzman Semi-Final In Rome

Novak Djokovic is keeping the faith as he looks forward to a semi-final match with Diego Schwartzman in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

World number one Novak Djokovic is keeping the faith ahead of his Rome semi-final against Diego Schwartzman. 

 

The four-time champion survived a massive test late last night as he battled past Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 in just over three hours.

After saving two match points the Serb proved to be too clinical as he clinched victory at about 1am in the morning on Saturday.

In a short interview after his match Djokovic said that keeping faith was important in his quarter-final victory, I never lost faith I could come back to the match,” Djokovic explained.

“One break of serve, mini break in the tiebreak when he was 6-4, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that’s all it took for me to come back. I’m just really pleased to overcome.”

In addition to keeping mentally strong, Djokovic also praised Del Potro’s performance as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, “He was playing really good. I tried my best obviously all the way till the end,” Djokovic said.

I lost probably the positioning of the court over him. Towards the end of the first he just started hitting the ball really well from both corners. Also backhand side, backhand down the line. He was playing really well. Gave me a lot of trouble.”

Next up for Djokovic is Diego Schwartzman who is into his first ever masters 1000 semi-final and is yet to drop a set this week.

The Serb leads the head-to-head 2-0 although their last match went to five sets at Roland Garros a couple of years ago. It should be a fascinating match which takes place at 8pm local time as Djokovic looks to keep the faith heading into the French Open.

 

 

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Novak Djokovic fends off two match points to win a dramatic quarter final match against Juan Martin Del Potro in Rome

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Four-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic fended off two match pointsto knok out Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 3 hours and 2 minutes in one of the most exciting matches of this edition of the Intenazionali d’Italia in Rome.

 

Djokovic won just five points than Del Potro and hit 43 winners to 34 unforced errors.

Del Potro saved six break points in the fourth, sixth and eighth games of the opening set and got his break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead.

The Argentine saved three break points in the tenth game to close out the first set with a backhand down the line winner.

Del Potro hit an ace to save a break point in the second game of the second set. Djokovic broke serve in the sixth game with a backhand winner.

The world number 1 fended off a set point on the return in the eighth game. Del Potro broke back at 15 in the ninth game after a loose backhand from Djokovic, when he was serving out the set at 5-3.

Del Potro earned two match points at 6-4 in the tie-break. Djokovic reeled off four consecutive points to win the tie-break 8-6, when Del Potro sent a backhand long forcing the match to the third set.

Djokovic fended off three break points in the fourth game of the decider before breaking serve in the fifth game, as Del Potro netted a forehand. The Serb served well in the next games and closed out the match with a hold of serve setting up a semifinal clash against Diego Schwartzman.

“I have never lost faith I could come back to the match. One break of serve, mini-break of the tie-break when he was 6-4 in the tie-break, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that’s all it took for me to come back. He missed a crucial point in the tie-break. Also in the break point of the third set, quite easy forehand. That’s what happens. That’s sport. I am just really pleased to overcome. I am happy that Del Potro is back to his best form after the injury”, said Djokovic.

 

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