This one, he had been waiting for 8 months. Fabio Fognini remained on 4 consecutive defeats in the 1st round on the circuit, his last victory dates back to his 3rd round of the Australian Open against Guido Pella. It is therefore with a big smile and a great relief that he threw up his arms in the sky Tuesday after having overthrown Philipp Kohlschreiber (4-6, 6-1, 7-5) in 2:19 of play in the 1st round in Hamburg. The Italian, who underwent surgery on both ankles during the cessation of competition due to the coronavirus, is slowly but surely finding his marks. He will face either Casper Ruud or Benoît Paire in his next match.
The affair seemed however badly started for the 15th player in the world. Failing to seize his opportunities (0/5 in the break points in the 1st set and 5/19 in the match), he was surprised in the 7th game of the inaugural set. Kohlschreiber, who had won 7 of their previous 9 duels, did not hesitate to take the lead in the process. But Fognini did not give up. More and more free in his movements, he took the ball earlier and his natural release did the rest in a one-sided second set, in which his opponent did not hit a winning shot.
Auger-Aliassime takes its marks on earth
On his way, Fognini took the opposing service from the third game of the last act. But two foot faults in his next entry disrupted him and he suffered a white break. But the Italian was rewarded for his initiatives. Much more enterprising than his opponent (42 winning shots at 15), he served for the match at 5-4, but tensed up a bit and saw his opponent catch up again. But he did not deviate from his tactics, made the difference in the stride and imposed himself on a final winning forehand missile.
At the same time, Félix Auger-Aliassime has restarted the forward movement. Surprised upon his entry into contention last week in Rome by Filip Krajinovic, the young Canadian has, this time, mastered his subject against the Italian Lorenzo Sonego (6-2, 7-6), specialist in clay and 46th world player. Ultra-domineering in the first set, he was then able to rely on a good quality of service to dismiss the four break points he had to save (82% success behind the first and 72% behind the second).
Bautista Agut, victorious father
Threatened at the end of the second set by a more pressing opponent, Auger-Aliassime authoritatively concluded a tie-break led by a final forehand shift, 7 points to 2. This victory in two sets and 1h47 of play therefore allows him to qualify for the second round in which he will face either Alexander Bublik (lucky loser) or Albert Ramos Vinolas. Finally, it should be noted that earlier in the day, Roberto Bautista Agut succeeded in his return to competition by dominating Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets (6-4, 6-3).
Father of a family for only a few days, the Spaniard thus made a victorious recovery on clay. Holder of the title and seeded number 4 of the tournament, he will find, for a place in the quarterfinals, one of the men in form of the moment in the person of Dominik Koepfer. Just quarter-finalist in Rome, the German took the best of the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in three sets (7-6, 4-6, 6-1).