from Montecarlo, our correspondent
Fabio Fognini suffers but in the end he prevails. The Ligurian, after a moment of difficulty in the second set, grows at a distance and, after 2 hours and 29 minutes, overcomes the first round of Monte Carlo for 7-5 4-6 6-3. In the topical moment of the match, the blue makes use of the skill, experience and explosiveness that distinguish it, extinguishing the ambitions of the French Rinderknech. Honor to Arthur, however, who made his debut at the Country Club with determination and excellent solutions from the bottom and in attack. In the end, though, dominates the mastery of the 2019 champion, to the delight of the many Italians present in the stands. Fognini’s next opponent will be Stefanos Tsitsipas.
THE MATCH – Fabio Fognini is the long-awaited champion of 2019, the tennis player who in Montecarlo has won the most matches compared to the other Masters 1000. The Ligurian faces the Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, 26, n. 59 in the world, at his first participation in the Monegasque tournament.
Fabio starts off a bit uncertain, suffers the break at 1-1 but immediately scores the counterbreak, 2-2. The set becomes more and more balanced and the draw arrives at 3-3. Rinderknech still prevails on the opponent’s serve at 4-4 but then loses the serve again. Fluctuating and overall balanced trend in this first set, which however gets complicated for Fabio. But the blue recovers and then takes the chair. He is able to save a set in which he suffers a lot and then, almost an hour of play, closes with a score of 7-5.
For Fabio, things get complicated even in the second set, when Rinderknech moves forward 3-1. But he insists on advancing and approaches 2-3. The pressing of the French fails with a straight to go out a little and Fognini has the ball of the equalizer. The Frenchman is still saved thanks to the serve. Fabio has a fourth break point but is still pushed to error by the opponent. There is a fifth chance for the blue, again canceled by Arthur who, in the end, wins the longest game of the match, climbing 4-2. Fabio still approaches on 3-4 but Rinderknech continues to attack and press him. With your feet in the field, the Frenchman is enterprising, tonic and always confident, despite the defeat of the first set and still advances, 5-3.
At 5-4, Fognini makes himself heard again, wins the equalizer but the Frenchman cancels it with the third ace. Prowess of Fabio who is saved with a backhand passer-by while running. But Rinderknech does not fit, and is infallible with the service in times of difficulty. Cold and tidy, Gassin’s tennis player controls very well the moments of difficulty and, in the end, the set is his for 6-4.
Everything to be redone, you go to the third.
Fognini quickly took the lead on 2-1 and won the fourth game by zero.
The Italian and French fans are unleashed in the stands, some cheering for Fognini, who are actually more numerous, and some for Rinderknech. The Frenchman loses the bar again and Fognini extends the distance, 4-2. Arthur is now much less effective in the serve and more imprecise in general, while the Ligurian manages the exchanges better and better, helped by his great hand and experience. For a moment his arm trembles but, in the end, the match is his. Now it awaits him Stefanos Tsitsipas. Between the two there are three direct clashes, all won by the Greek; Fabio managed to snatch a set from him only once, last year at Indian Wells.
“The first match is always difficult and complicated ” commented Fabio, “And in any case today was a strange game, I was not able to play as I would have liked. I didn’t know the opponent much even though I knew that he can play well on hard but he also did it on clay. But I, if I’m okay, can be a mangy dog for everyone“.