Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fognini ends Andy Roman Holiday

Andy Murray is not the happiest world number one tennis player.  He is enjoying clay as much as he enjoys losing Australian Open finals.
His first outing in Rome after an initial bye pitted him against an Italian, Fabio Fognini.
Immediately he had the crowd against him.

Then Fognini decided to play one of the best matches of his life and left Murray gobsmacked at this level of tennis exhibited by the currently ranked 29 player.
The Italians have struggled this year, and Fognini had history against him.

Murray is defending champion and did not drop a set in winning last year.  No defending champion had lost his first match the following year since 2008 and no Italian had beaten a current world number one since Filippo Volandri upset Roger Federer in 2007.

Fabio broke Murray's two opening serves and quickly had a 4-0 lead, hitting forehand winners at will.  Andy could not answer and just contributed two games before Fognini sealed the set with a love game.

Set two flowed the same, Fognini surprising with brilliantly timed and placed drop shots to further frustrate a bewildered Murray.  Two breaks again and 5-1.
Murray did give the Italian a few worries toward the end, pulling back one of the breaks amid a three game streak.
Serving for the match a second time, Fognini produced the type of tennis he had displayed for most of the clash.
The 6-2 6-4 victory arrived on the second match point and the crowd erupted for their hero.

Second seed Novak Djokovic avoided the Murray embarrassment, although he struggled to push aside Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene requiring an opening set tie break.
The real Novak appeared in set two and he dominated to win 7-6 (2) 6-2.

All other seeds were successful in first and second round matches, David Goffin having to come from a set down against Fernando Verdasco.

Last week's Madrid finalist Kristina Mladenovic was an upset round one loser, eliminated by Germany's Julia Goerges.
Also gone is 10th seed Madison Keys, qualifier Dasha Gavrilova doing the job in three sets.

Maria Sharapova suffered on two fronts.  Leading Mirjana Lucic-Baroni  4-6 6-3 2-1, a thigh injury prevented a likely win, and the Roland Garros organisers have denied Maria a wild card for Paris.
The return to the tour of a two time French Open champion has been received unkindly and in my opinion with unnecessary distaste.
Sharapova is a human being, not a pariah.

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