Last year in the ATP Croatia Open, Fabio Fognini battled his way into the final of the men’s singles event only to end up losing to Tommy Robredo. This year, Fognini is seeded #1 for the tournament, and he’s looking to win.
Playing Albert Montanes to reach the quarterfinals, the two players tested each other in the opening games, each breaking each other’s serve early on. But both were fairly evenly matched, and the first set predictably went to a tiebreak. However, Fognini took charge of the tiebreak early on to get a 6-1 lead and, although he squandered a few points, managed to win the tiebreak, 7-6.
Just as Montanes seemed a little down in the dumps from losing the first set, it was like someone had lit Fognini’s blue touch paper – he was on fire in the second set. Losing just three points in the second set, Fognini closed the proceedings, 6-0, and advances into the quarterfinals.
Another game worthy of mention at the Croatia Open was the battle between 17-year old Borna Coric and Horacio Zeballos.
Coric finished the last season as the #2 junior – behind Alexander Zverev, who got through to the semifinals in Hamburg, Germany a couple of weeks ago. Coric also beat the #7 seed for the tournament a few days ago, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, in two straight sets.
Coric and Zeballos both seemed well-matched in the first set, neither player giving up their serve, and Coric just edging Zeballos out in the tiebreak to win the first set. Seeming a little more relaxed, Coric broke Zeballos in the sixth game to go to 4-2, and then served out for a place in the quarterfinals where he’ll meet Fognini.
Talking to the press after the match, Coric said, “I played a little worse than the last match, but who cares, is an important victory. Today there were a little slower conditions, it is difficult to serve, Zeballos did return better than Roger-Vasselin.”