Fognini sur­vives scare to beat Sousa

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Italy’s Davis Cup hero Fabio Fognini re­dis­cov­ered his game just in time to pro­duce a 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 come­back over Joao Sousa to progress to the Monte Carlo Masters sec­ond round yes­ter­day.

The tenth seed who helped his na­tion into the Davis semi­fi­nals over Great Bri­tain a week ago, stood two points from de­feat against a Por­tuguese op­po­nent ranked 38th.

The colourful and ex­plo­sive Fognini sud­denly seemed to re­alise the se­ri­ous­ness of his sit­u­a­tion and be­gan pulling him­self to­gether.

The clay ti­tle-win­ner in Vina del Mar in Fe­bru­ary re­cov­ered from a set and 5-2 down, break­ing back for 4-5 and lev­el­ing at five games apiece.

Fognini soon found an­other break and made it a set each in the nick of time.

He then broke for 5-3 in the third on the way to the face-sav­ing vic­tory in two hours, 20 min­utes with the two play­ers pro­duc­ing just one ace be­tween them,

“I was able to play with more men­tal tran­quil­ity,” said the win­ner, whose 22 vic­to­ries in 2014 tie him for sec­ond along­side Marin Cilic with that pair trail­ing Roger Fed­erer’s 24.

“I wasn’t play­ing my best ten­nis but I man­aged to win, I’m just glad to get through it. It was a very close win.”

Span­ish specialist Al­bert Mon­tanes will line up in the sec­ond round against sec­ond seeded holder Novak Djokovic af­ter send­ing French­man Benoit Paire home 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

Paire is only just back from a left knee in­jury which kept him idle from the Aus­tralian Open un­til last week.

“I want to go home, I want to take care of my health, do my treat­ments, and prac­tise,” said Paire. “If the pain is not too bad, I’ll play Barcelona (next week) and Oeiras.

“But I know this evening I’m go­ing to feel a lot of pain in my knee.”

Czech Radek Stepanek won a bat­tle of 35-year-olds as he crushed Ivo Karlovic 6-1, 6-2 to next line up against fourth seed Fed­erer play­ing the event for the first time since 2011.

Ger­man Philipp Kohlschreiber ham­mered Ital­ian Si­mone Bolelli 6-3, 6-4 and will take on French ninth seed Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga next. Czech Lukas Rosol beat Rus­sian Evgeny Don­skoy 7-5, 6-1.

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