Fabio Fognini produced one of the biggest upsets of Italian Open on Wednesday as he ousted World No. 8 Dominic Thiem in the Round of 32. Thiem, however, couldn’t complain about luck as Fognini was definitely the better player on the day, which was reflected by his subtle reverse forehand lob shot.
Coming off a terrific win over the king of clay, Rafael Nadal, in the Spanish capital last week, Thiem was undoubtedly the favourite to win against World No. 21 Fognini. However, the Italian had the crowd support that kept him fired up throughout the game as he overcame his Austrian opponent 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the round of 32.
This was Fognini’s first win against Thiem in their last three meetings and it would be fair to say that the Italian looked flamboyant and fearless right from the beginning, which eventually turned the match for him. After winning the first set 6-4, Fognini saw himself on the back-foot massively as Thiem was cruising 5-0 in the second set.
The incident was initiated from Fognini’s serve with Thiem already 15-0 up. The Italian’s serve was perfectly returned by Thiem with a strong backhand, to which Foginini was seen playing backspin to draw Thiem forward. However, his initial attempt failed with Thiem reaching the ball well in time to smash a crosscourt forehand, restricting Fognini to play safe for the time being.
After they exchanged two more shots, Fognini was again in a position to draw him closer and he tried slashing the ball again to keep it in the frontcourt, which led Thiem to advance. This time, the ball was going down a backward running Fognini, who couldn’t have possibly generated any power whatsoever from that position. Feeling that the point was well in his pocket, Thiem stayed at the net waiting to end the rally.
However, Fognini audaciously executed the only shot that could have won