Fabio Fognini recorded seven aces while outdueling Andy Murray 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday at Rome.
Fognini delivered 47 winners against 22 unforced errors while winning on home soil. He also saved 14 of 18 break points while prevailing in a match that took two hours and 54 minutes.
Fognini received a wild card into this tournament because he has been dealing with a foot injury. But he was able to keep up just fine with Murray in the battle of 35-year-old veterans.
“For sure I’m happy because coming back from injury is never easy, especially at our age,” Fognini said. “But winning here in Rome against a really big player like Andy, I mean I’m happy.
“Now it’s important to recover and let’s see how I recover and I wake up tomorrow because it’s going to be tricky and a nice question to my mind if I will recover well. But I just want to enjoy this night and going home with this victory.”
Murray had 27 winners against 18 unforced errors. But the Brit converted just 4 of 18 break points.
Murray fell behind 3-1 in the final set but later pulled within 5-4 before Fognini won the clinching game.
Another veteran faring well Wednesday was 38-year-old Stan Wawrinka as the Swiss needed just 77 minutes to post a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.
Wawrinka registered 26 winners against seven unforced errors in the crisp performance.
“I was ready for it. I am playing well,” Wawrinka said. “It was a good first match and I am really happy to get through again. I have been working hard to get to this level. This year I am playing much better, but I need to win more matches. That is what I am missing a bit, the confidence to win more matches. But in general the level is great.”
Ivashka had 11 winners and 12 unforced errors in defeat.
Two Americans lost on a day in which no seeded players were in action.
Marcos Giron fell short against Roman Safiullin as the Russian advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Safiullin had 23 winners and nine unforced errors, while Giron had 14 winners against 13 unforced errors.
Brandon Nakashima also lost as Frenchman Gregoire Barrere registered a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Barrere had six aces among 15 winners and committed 11 unforced errors. He didn’t face a single break point.
Nakashima had just six winners while committing 13 unforced errors.
–Field Level Media