Fogna and Lajovic to battle for the main trophy
The 31-year-old Italian Fabio Fognini played the match of his life, under blustery windy conditions, this Saturday to knock out defending champion Rafael Nadal (6-4, 6-2) at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, advancing to his first ATP Masters 1000 final. Rafa’s dream of a 12thtitle in Monte-Carlo was cut short by a flawless Fognini, even if Nadal still leads their head-to-head 11-4.
Nadal did not have it easy playing Argentine Guido Pella in the quarterfinals, and he saved five match points in the second set against Fognini, winning to games avoiding a bagel, encouraged by the loud cheers of his fans who wanted badly for their hero to have a miraculous come back. Unexpectedly, Nadal made 25 unforced errors and dropped serve six times. The truth is the Spaniard has only played in four tournaments this season and withdrew from 11 out of ten cmpetitions on hard court in 2018. Questions arise about his health condition, after coming back from a knee injury.
Nadal said: “Vision is clear. I played a very bad game against a good player, so in that situation, you have to lose. That’s what I did this afternoon.“
Fognini’s fourth victory in 15 encounters against the world N°2 ends 18-match and 25-set winning streaks for Nadal in the Principality. Fognini joins Novak Djokovic as the only player to defeat Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Country Club after the quarterfinals.
Fognini will now face first-time tour-level finalist Dusan Lajovic for the main trophy on Sunday, the only two gladiators left standing for the final face-off.
Fabio Fognini said: “I knew I had the game to play against Rafa. Sometimes I won a few matches. I won one a crazy one at the US Open and two times on clay. So, I knew that I had nothing to lose, because, of course, especially when you go with him on clay, I mean, it’s always really tough.”
“Lajovic played really good and really solid during the whole week because I saw him play against Dominic. I saw him playing the first match and he beat Goffin. He has nothing to lose. I have nothing to lose. We start 50/50. Even if the ranking I’m higher than him, I know that I have to run a lot tomorrow.”
Dusan Lajovic defeated Daniil Medvedev (7-5, 6-1) on Saturday in a battle of first-time ATP Masters 1000 semi-finalists, winning 12 of the final 13 games to reach the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final. World No. 48 is the lowest-ranked Monte-Carlo finalist since No. 53 Hicham Arazi in 2001.
Dusan Lajovic said: “Yeah, it’s incredible. I mean, I’m extremely happy to be in the finals. Still a little bit not aware of the achievement, but I’m under the impression of the match, but I’m feeling very good and a little bit tired now but can’t wait to go out there and play finals tomorrow.
We know Fabio. When he wants to play, it’s difficult to play against him. Let’s hope he wakes up the other Fabio tomorrow morning (smiling)”
Results Men’s Singles – Saturday, April 20, 2019
Results Men’s Doubles – Saturday, April 20, 2019
Program Sunday, April 21, 2019
“Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner.”Arthur Ashe