Fabio Fognini is now the first Italian to have won ATP Masters 1000 title. Before this tournament, the 31-year old had been a part of the Masters 87 times and couldn’t make it past the winning line. With the win over Lajovic, after upsetting Rafael Nadal in the Semi-finals, he now has a Masters title for himself. He also reaches his best ever ATP Ranking of #12 .
“I think they feel happy now because I have my name on this tournament. It’s something that I’ve been dreaming of since I was really young.”Fabio Fognini reflecting on his first title win
Ever elusive dream, till now:
Until the start of Monte Carlo Masters tournament last week, he had a career win-loss of 84-88 (including the qualifying matches) at the ATP Masters 1000. His best result came in 2017 when he lost the semi-finals at Miami against Rafael Nadal.
Quick break down of his Masters performance so far (and how he won his first title):
Here is how the wonderful, dream-come-true week of Fognini unfolded:
ROUND OF 64- ANDREY RUBLEV: [4-6 | 7-5 | 6-4]
With a H2H record 3-1 to his favor and almost 76 ranks between them, it was meant to be a cakewalk for the veteran against the 21-year old. But the youngster showed a lot of promise and pushed Fognini to a corner. Fognini lost the first set 4-6 and the second set was headed against him too. By the end of tenth game in the second set, they were levelled at 5-5. Two games that followed changed the course of the game and also the tournament. He broke the serve of Rublev in the 11th game after being 15-0 down. The 12th game turned into a mere formality and so did the third set. 6-4 in the third set and Fognini got his Masters tournament going.
ROUND OF 32-GILLES SIMON: Walk Over
Round of 32 was a lucky escape for him. With Gilles Simon withdrawing from the tournament owing to blocked back, Fognini entered Round of 16 and with a series of tough challenges to face.
ROUND OF 16- ALEXANDAR ZVEREV : [7-6 | 6-1]
What followed the walk over in Round of 32 was something to be amazed about. In the next four games, he was set to play some of the toughest games in his career starting with the #3 seeded Alexandar Zverev. First set in the game is a real push for him. The first break points came in the game 5 when Zverev earned two break points from the Fognini’s serve. He responded back immediately breaking Zverev in the game 6. The set is still balanced at 3-3. The game continued with each wining their serves until 6-6 and then a time breaker. Two straight wins after 5-6 helped Fognini win the first set. Straight forward second set 6-1 and Fognini was in the Quarter Finals.
QUARTER FINALS – BORNA CORIC : [1-6 | 6-3 | 6-2]
This was his first run into the Quarter Finals since 2013 at Monte Carlo Masters. He had to now fight another top 10 seeded. Borna Coric was coming off a win against Herbert who eliminated Kei Nishkori in the Round of 32. Coric extended his form from the previous game by winning the first set 6-1 giving no chance to Fognini. Coric was active and even broke the Fognini’s serve in the first game of the second set. He then also held to his serve. 8 games to 1 game for Coric over Fognini. That meant 5 straight games for Fognini without a game win. Three games later, they were levelled at 3-3. Fognini continued to gain control as he won next 5 games. In the process, he won the second set 6-3 and now leading third set 2-0. Fight back from Coric in the last set continued but Fognini was able to manage the threat to reach the Semi-Finals for the first time since 2013.
SEMI FINALS- RAFAEL NADAL : [6-4 | 6-2]
It could probably be the toughest match he might have ever played at Masters. Rafael Nadal is back in touch and with 11 Monte Carlo titles already under his belt, he would start as favorite. Big pressure game but Fognini responds in style. He takes the first set 6 to 4 and second 6 to 2. Two straight set losses for Nadal who didn’t lose a set in the tournament so far. He broke the serves of Nadal and also made sure he converted he break points that he was offered. Rafael Nadal struggled as the day got wonderful for Fognini. 96 minutes later, he made a massive upset and is now in his first ever Masters Finals.
FINALS-DUSAN LAJOVIC: [6-3 | 6-4]
98 minutes in his first ever finals at ATP Masters and a first serve fault, Fabio Fognini had to get his serve right for one last time to get his hands on the ever-elusive trophy. 74% on his second serve wins comes handy and to make it 75%, he wins the last game taking the second set 6-4.
Few minutes earlier, already having won the first set, he wanted to stomp the authority in the match. He did not waste anytime as he broke the serve of Lajovic right in the first game along with one break point. Lajovic responded strongly. This time it was his turn to break the serve. Lajovic backed with another powerful game on his serve. He is now leading 2-1 with a prospect of comeback. After three times deuce, the deadlock is broken in the favor of Fognini. It was much needed moment of the game. Break of serve, followed by holding serve helped Fognini to put his foot forward. 4-2 in his favor. Two more games away from his first title. Lajovic-Fognini-Lajovic. He is not going down without a fight. 5-4 in the lead and with the serve. Just one point in the last game for Lajovic as Fognini won the first ever title on his long career.
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