Fabio Fognini notched the biggest title of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters this week, defeating Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 in an entertaining final. Both men had defied the odds to get there, with Fognini stunning Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals and Dusan Lajovic having defeated Nadal’s main rival Dominic Thiem in Round 3.
Nadal wasn’t Fognini’s only victim this week. The Italian also beat Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric, but his most impressive victory came in Round 1 against Andrey Rublev. Fognini was 6-4 4-1 and break point down, but served a second serve ace and eventually held, before mounting an unbelievable comeback to stay alive in the tournament. Prior to that, Fognini had only won 4 matches in 2019 and was having a poor year. He was a man in desperate need of match wins, and he certainly got that in Monte Carlo.
“I just feel happy because I won a big tournament that was always my goal in my career,” Fognini said. “I think everybody, when you’re growing up and you start and you decide to play tennis, you are dreaming to win a big tournament. We are talking about a Masters.”
Fognini became the first Italian to ever win a Masters 1000 and will rise to a career high ranking of 12 as of the 22nd April. Fognini will have the chance to surpass Marin Cilic in the rankings and move up even higher next week, with Fognini only 5 points behind the Croat. His next stop will be Barcelona, where he will look to continue his great run of form.
Rafael Nadal, who described his loss to Fognini this week as one of his ‘worst matches on clay in 14 years’, will also be playing in Barcelona. Nadal will desperately want to find some form on the clay before Roland Garros, where Nadal will be looking for a historic 12th title. However, with Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer lurking in the background, the Spaniard certainly won’t have it all his own way.
Written by Emre Saridogan