Monday, July 22, 2013

Watch: Fognini Saves Three Match Points against Delbonis in Hamburg

(July 22, 2013)--Fabio Fognini won his second consecutive title in Hamburg on Sunday and in the process he improved his current winning streak to ten matches. To give you an example of just how blazing hot Fognini is, check the following stat: Only three other ATP players have had winning streaks of at least ten matches this season and their names are Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.

Pretty nice company for the 26-year-old who has never finished a season inside the ATP's top 40. But after his second career title in eight days, the Italian has reached the top 20 and also become one of only three players to have won a title after saving match points (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did it in Marseille and Andy Murray did it in Miami).

Fognini was elated with the victory and his recent stream of success but he did acknowledge the fact that he had lady luck on his side against Federico Delbonis on Sunday in the Bet-at-Home Open final in Hamburg. "I was I think a little bit lucky," he told reporters after the match. "Today, I didn’t play really good but I fought really good. I think this was the key."

In case you missed the action, Delbonis had three match points in the second set tiebreaker, and Fognini looked like he was ready to cave after he missed a backhand to trail 6-5.

Here he is picking up his recently tossed racquet and spewing some more venom before the first match point:

But miraculously, with the point practically won, Delbonis flubbed the volley. "I tried to hit hard my serve and I was running," Delbonis later said. "I went to the net to close and then he hit very hard and I tried to volley, but it was in the net. I don’t know if I played bad. I tried to do the best on these three points. But Fabio also played good on these points. And this is it."

Here's match point two, in which Fognini slaps a trademark forehand low and hard where Delbonis can't retreive it:

And, finally, Delbonis gets a third match point on his serve, but his forehand clips the tape and lands far outside the line, giving Fognini the lifeline he needed to get out of trouble.

Call it luck, call it tennis, whatever it was, Fognini made his returns and forced Delbonis to beat him. The 22-year-old, playing in his first career final, was not up to the task, but he still looks back on the experience of reaching the finals from qualifying at Hamburg as a good one. "To lose the final with match point is disappointing," he said. "But at the end of the week the result of all the week is positive for me. It’s my first final. I beat Roger yesterday. All the balance here is positive."

Fognini felt pretty positive about the experience as well. "It’s an amazing week," he said. "I can’t believe it right now. I just feel incredible, a real good sensation, I’m very happy."

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