Five Things To Know About The The Monte Carlo Final As Fognini And Lajovic Eye Milestones - UBITENNIS
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Five Things To Know About The The Monte Carlo Final As Fognini And Lajovic Eye Milestones

Who will win the clash of the underdogs?

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At the start of this year’s Monte Carlo Masters, few expected the finale to feature two players who have had mixed results on the tour so far this season.

 

Italian veteran Fabio Fognini will contest his 19th and most significant ATP final after stunning Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals on Saturday. Becoming the fourth player in history to defeat the Spaniard on the clay at least three times. Prior to this week, Fognini had lost his opening match at four clay court tournaments this season across South America and North Africa.

“If you told me at the beginning of the week, I will see you on Sunday, I would [have] laughed in your face,” Fognini told reporters after his semi-final match. “I was 6-4, 4-1 down (against Andrey Rublev in the first round) and break point for 5-1, and I [hit an] ace on the line. But that’s sport. So I was lucky. Now I’m in the final.”

Fognini’s route to final
R1 – def Andrey Rublev 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
R2 – def Gilles Simon (walkover)
R3 – def Alexander Zverev 7-6(6), 6-1
QF – def Borna Coric 1-6, 6-3, 6-2,
SF – def Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-2

Standing in Fognini’s way of the title is Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic. Lajovic’s shock run to the final has seen him score three wins over seeded players. Including his first ever over a top five player when he took out Dominic Thiem. Until Monte Carlo, the current world No.48 had never won more than three consecutive matches at tour-level. He has played in the main draw of 20 grand slam tournaments with his best run being to the fourth round of the 2014 French Open.

Lajovic’s route to final
R1 – def Malek Jaziri 6-4, 6-4
R2 – def David Goffin 6-3, 6-4
R3 – def Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3
QF – def Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 7-5
SF – def Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1

With a lot of stake for both players when they clash at the Monte Carlo Country Club, here are five things to watch in the final.

  • 31-year-old Fognini and 28-year-old Lajovic will both play in their first ever Masters 1000 final in Monte Carlo. This is the first time this has happened since Jock Sock’s win over Filip Krajinovic at the 2017 Paris Masters.
  • Fognini is bidding to become the first ever Italian player to win a Masters 1000 title since the series was created back in 1990. At Monte Carlo, the last Italian player to win the title was Nicola Pietrangeli back in 1968.
  • Lajovic is bidding to become the lowest ranked player to win a Masters title since Tomas Berdych at the 2005 Paris Masters when he was ranked 50th in the world. The Serbian is already the lowest ranked player to reach the final in Monte Carlo since Hicham Arazi back in 2001.
  • World No.18 Fognini is bidding to become the lowest seeded player to win the title since Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten back in 1999. Meanwhile, Lajovic could become the first unseeded champion since Thomas Muster back in 1992.
  • Whoever wins will reach a new ranking best. Fognini is already guaranteed to return back into the world’s top 15, but will rise to a high of 12th should he win the title. As for Lajovic, he will exceed his previous personal best ranking of 42nd. Rising to 19th with the title or 24th if he finishes runner-up.

The final is scheduled to get underway at 14:30 (CEST).

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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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