"That was fun, right?" Tennys Sandgren ranked No. 100 said looking up at the crowd after his fourth round victory at the Australian Open. Fabio Fognini was his opponent and it was sometimes debated who was having the fun.
The fans were conflicted between being entertained or rather annoyed at the theatrics on the court between two talented tennis players. Sandgren played a tight game with a limited amount of errors to take a two-set lead in the Melbourne Arena.
He had a tough bunch of sets from the time he entered this Australian Open despite winning three straight sets in his first round with Argentina's Marco Trungelliti. He would go on to play a fierce, gritty match with Italy's Matteo Berrettini and come up the victor in a 5-setter extravaganza.
As the rounds proceeded, he met up with Sam Querrey, winning in a 3-straight set match. But nothing even came close to a performance as with Italy's Fabio Fognini. Sandgren had to go the 4 sets to dramatically win the match without possible penalities or obstruction of rules.
The Italian would take a bathroom break when Sandgren thought it wasn't the proper time and questioned it with the chair umpire. It didn't seem to change things. It was into the second set that Fabio Fognini had ripped off his shirt and had a medical timeout.
But Sandgren admitted that the end of the opening set got the best of him let alone Fognini. "That was really physical. It got really tough...I didn't mind the break but I wanted to keep my foot on the gas...just tried to stay calm and stay focused," Sandgren had said.
He had won the opening tiebreak set despite Fognini keeping it longer at 3-all, then 5-all. It was the second set where Fognini started playing his classical game hitting the corners and down-the-lines so smoothly. He wasn't able to tighten his game and be on point until the third set which he won in a tremendous thud of applause and noise from the ramped up crowd.
The longer the matchtime, the better Sandgren had performed. He produced three consistent aces and won a 26-shot rally to win the match and move onto the quarterfinal with Roger Federer. All he could explain about playing Roger Federer next is that "I am amped up.
I want to perform. I want to do well. I don't want to take the time on the court for granted..." Sandgren knows that he's not played against many top players and especially won either. Federer was asked on how he feels about playing Sandgren and he's commented that "He plays very well.
He's got a lot of stuff in his game...I likehow he moves...: Sandgren can only think of how his performance with Fognini turned out and says about playing Federer that "If I play pretty well, I have a shot...I was blessed enough to keep hold of my dream and to be able to try and fulfill it..."