Fognini Starts Home Campaign In Rome With Win

ROME, May 14, 2019

Fabio Fognini opened his home campaign at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Monday evening with a straight-sets win over former Top 5 player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

The No. 10 seed won 54 per cent of the total points played on Centrale at Foro Italico to secure a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 22 minutes.

“To play first round against Jo – [it was a] really tough match, because of course he was injured. He had surgery on the knee. He tried to recover his best performance, but at the same time I knew that it could be really dangerous,” Fognini said, as quoted on the ATP Tour website. “I’m happy, of course, happy because especially for me here, it’s always tough to play. But I’m happy about my performance, happy to be again in the second round in Roma.”

Fognini rose to a career-high ranking of World No. 12 after claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Monte-Carlo on 21 April, putting him close to becoming the first Italian to reach the ATP Rankings Top 10 in 40 years. Next up for the Sanremo native will be either Radu Albot of Moldova or Frenchman Benoit Paire.

Earlier in the day, Denis Shapovalov edged past Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, winning 6-3, 7-6(5). The 20-year-old Canadian capitalized on one of his 12 break point chances to set a second round clash with Novak Djokovic. The World No. 1 from Serbia won the only previous meeting in January in the third round of the Australian Open in four sets.

Marco Cecchinato rallied past Alex De Minaur from Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the second round for the second straight year. The No. 2 Italian, behind Fognini, will next face Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany for the first time.

#NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud earned his first career ATP Masters 1000 win over Briton Daniel Evans 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 in a battle of qualifiers. Ruud’s father, Christian, who reached a career-high World No. 39, made the second round in Rome in 1997.

Seeds Karen Khachanov and Borna Coric reached the second round for the first time, both with three-set wins. The tournament’s No. 11 from Russia saved four of the five break points in a 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3 victory over Italian wild card entry Lorenzo Sonego and 13th favourite Coric defeated Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic, Nadal – top two seeds in Rome

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal come into the Internazionali BNL d’Italia deadlocked at the top of the all-time ATP Masters 1000 title leaders list, after Djokovic claimed his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title at Madrid on Sunday to tie Nadal’s overall total. Roger Federer holds third place by himself, with 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Andre Agassi (17) and Andy Murray (14) round out the top five.