Italy’s Fabio Fognini clinched his 300th tour-level singles win on Monday, defeating Gael Monfils, for the fourth time in eight FedEx ATP Head2Head clashes, 6-3, 6-1 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The World No. 21 snapped a three-match losing streak in front of his home crowd to reach the milestone, hitting 14 forehand winners and winning 89 per cent of first-serve points to beat the Qatar ExxonMobil Open champion (d. Rublev) in 53 minutes. Fognini has now beaten Monfils in three of their five meetings on the red dirt and improves to 10-6 on clay this season. Earlier this year, Fognini won his sixth ATP World Tour title (all on clay) in Sao Paulo, defeating Chilean Nicolas Jarry in three sets.
Both men started the first set well, with three comfortable service holds apiece to reach 3-3. But, from there, it was one-way traffic. Fognini won 12 of the next 15 points, extracting early errors from the 2006 semi-finalist (l. to Nadal) with deep returns to earn two breaks of serve and a one-set lead.
The Italian continued to apply the pressure in set two, earning a third service break to establish a 3-1 advantage before racing to the finish line, winning 12 of the final 13 points of the match.
Fognini moves into the second round where he will meet Mutua Madrid Open finalist Dominic Thiem. The Austrian leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0.
There was further success for Italy, as wild card Matteo Berrettini beat #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6(1). The Italian saved both break points he faced in the one-hour, 38-minute clash to book a second-round match against defending champion Alexander Zverev,
Robin Haase came from a set down to beat Russia's Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. The 31-year-old took one hour and 44 minutes to overcome the Sydney International champion in a match that featured 12 breaks of serve.
Did You Know?
Despite winning six ATP World Tour titles on clay, Fabio Fognini has never advanced beyond the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The 31-year-old has twice reached the Round of 16, losing to Tomas Berdych in 2015 and eventual champion Alexander Zverev in 2017. . read full article