After almost 700 matches on the ATP Tour, the 33-year-old Fabio Fognini experienced the first default in a career in Barcelona against Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round. Fabio was never known as someone who would always give his best on the court, often arguing with everyone and not pretending to care in many of his defeats.
Still, he never got himself in trouble like today, insulting the linesman in the second set and leaving the court in anger and fury. Fabio underwent arthroscopic surgery on both ankles last May, struggling to get back at his best but playing a couple of good matches in 2021.
Fognini reached the quarter-final in Monte Carlo last week, playing way below that level in Barcelona today to experience a bagel against world no. 147 in the opener! Feeling more and more frustrated, the Italian questioned the linesman's calls and said something bad to him in the eighth game, which brought in the supervisor.
Fognini had to play against 14 break chances during those 80 minutes, getting broken five times and recovering his game a bit in set number two to remain competitive before the disqualification. A former top-10 player sprayed a backhand error in game two to find himself behind and fell 4-0 down following Bernabe's perfect forehand crosscourt winner.
Zapata Miralles held at 15 in game five and landed a return winner a few minutes later to earn a bagel, as Fabio didn't want to chase that ball. The Italian wasted break chances at the beginning of the second set, making him even more frustrated.
Fabio Fognini got defaulted for the first time in a career in Barcelona.
Fognini sent a wild forehand in the second game to get broken for the fourth straight time, losing nine consecutive games for an embarrassing result.
From 3-0 down, Fabio grabbed four games in a row to get back on the scoreboard, only to suffer a break at 4-3. Zapata Miralles prepared to serve at 4-4 when the supervisor came to the court, talking with the chair umpire and Fognini.
After a short argument with the supervisor, Fabio defaulted, although he declared that he didn't do or say anything to a linesman. "I was punished for something I didn't do. I did bad things on the court in the past, but that wasn't the case today, as I was very calm.
I wasn't even speaking. I will investigate the default, as this never happened to me in my life," Fabio Fognini said.