UMAG, July 20 ,2016
Fabio Fognini opened his title bid at the Konzum Croatia Open on Wednesday, beating Renzo Olivo 6-4, 6-1. The fourth seed from Italy won 72% of his first service points and capitalized on four of his 11 break point chances to secure victory in one hour and 17 minutes.
“Renzo has come to Umag with a lot of confidence, reaching the semi-finals in Hamburg last week. He also played a good match yesterday. So it’s really tough to start a tournament against such an opponent. I was also still a bit tired from the Davis Cup. So winning the match in straight sets is great,” Fognini told afterwards. “The match was changing when I started to put more pressure on him. I came to the net more often and he had to run a lot. That was probably the key today.”
The Italian has returned to Istria for the ninth consecutive year.
“I have achieved good results here in the past. I made it to the final here in 2013 (lost to Robredo), and also reached the semi-finals several times. I have good memories of the tournament. I got injured at the beginning of the season and I have been sidelined from the courts for about one month. So I am still looking to play some tournaments. After Umag, I will go to Toronto. The next couple of months will be really tough.”
First of all, Fognini will play Damir Dzumhur in the quarterfinals. The 24-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina rallied from a set down to overcome Thomas Fabbiano 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. The only previous meeting between the two took place in Umag last year.
“He is a really good fighter, running a lot. He has alreday gained two good victories here: today but also against Almagro in the opening round. I think that I will be the favourite but you never know,” Fognini said.
Earlier the day, third seed Jeremy Chardy opened his Umag campaign with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Serbian qualifier Nikola Cacic. The 29-year-old from France, who is making his tournament debut, didn’t face a break point, converting five of his own to finish the encounter in only 43 minutes.
“I started very well and played an overall good level,” Chardy was satisfied with his performance.
“The tournament here is really nice. The hotel is very close and the view is very nice. It feels like being on holiday here, but at the same time we have to work, as there is a tournament. A lot of people come and watch the matches but it is also very smart from the organizers to combine the tennis with the party. It is really good for everybody,” the world number 38 told about his Umag impressions. Chardy advanced to his only fourth quarterfinal of the season, taking on Carlos Belcocq, who benefited from the retirement of Jiri Vesely, leading 7-5, 3-0.
“So far this season, I haven’t played that well as I had expected. I had some good weeks but also many, in which I wasn’t so happy with my game. For the moment, I am not really pleased but there are still five more months left on the tour this year and I hope to improve week by week,” he stated and seemed to find his rhythm pretty quickly after he lost in the opening round in Hamburg last week.
“For my game it is much better to play here. The conditions are really good for me, as the courts are pretty fast and the balls bounce high. We have sunshine every day. In Hamburg it was cold and the balls didn’t take the spin and the speed. The courts were really heavy, so it was really difficult for me to play there.”
Chardy will maybe return to Croatia in September, as France will take on Croatia in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.
“It will be a tough tie. France will be the favourite, but not that much. Croatia has a good team. Marin can beat anybody on the tour and Coric is also a good player. I would love to play the tie but for the moment I am not part of the team. In France it is not easy to get elected by the captain. For the moment I am not thinking about the Davis Cup and just try to be focused on my own game. Playing Davis Cup is always a nice gift.”