French tennis legend Jo-Wilfried Tsonga described Fabio Fognini as "a very charismatic player" and added the Italian knows extremely well what he is doing when he starts doing his usual antics on the court. This week in Metz, 36-year-old Fognini clinched back-to-back wins on the main stage for the first time since the French Open.
After claiming a tight 7-6 (3) 7-6 (9) win over Thiago Seyboth Wild in his Metz opener, Fognini also claimed a thriller 4-6 7-6 (7) 7-6 (5) win over Alexander Bublik after saving three match points. On a match point in the second-set tie-break, Fognini pulled off a crazy volley which left Bublik looking in disbelief and shock.
Fognini had the crowd engaged and the match wasn't lacking entertainment at all. Tsonga, who retired from pro tennis last year, met Fognini six times and won four of their meetings.
Tsonga on Fognini
“I remember quite a few meetings against him.
He is a very charismatic player. We're going to say real Italian, the way we like them. He is very difficult to face because he plays tennis very well and he often tries to impact the match by talking to the referee, the spectators or sometimes even trying to disrupt his opponent a little.
It's part of the game, part of the folklore of tennis and it's certain that Fognini knows how to use this aspect very well," Tsonga said on Mossele TV. Against Bublik, Fognini was inches away from losing in straight sets. At 6-5 in the second set, Bublik had a chance to serve out for the match but Fognini saved a match point to force a tie-break - in which he saved two more match points before converting his first set point to send the match into a decider.
In the third set, Fognini didn't manage to serve out for the match in the 10th game but realized his first match point in the third-set tie-break to complete a comeback win over Bublik.