If you’ve ever Googled ‘Epic Tennis Blasts’, Alex de Minaur’s third round opponent won’t need to be introduced.
When it comes to Fabio Fognini, the word “fuel” barely cuts it.
Angry clash between two Italians after five smugglers
Fognini, now 33, has been in the top 10 for the best part of the decade. He’s an extremely talented tennis player, so it’s something he’s better known for his meltdowns than his Grand Slam triumphs, not that there haven’t been many.
The enigmatic Italian was in the fourth round at the open from Australia three times in his career. He was a quarter-finalist at the 2011 French Open and, despite being a clay specialist, he made five third-round matches at Wimbledon and has already made the fourth round at the US Open.
In a way, he’s the Italian version of Nick Kyrgios. Some would see him as a lost talent. Gifted at the game to be a Grand Slam champion, he has rather become a fireworks display. Loud, colorful and unpredictable, but more often than not turns off before you expected or expected.
One thing’s for sure, when he’s on the pitch, you can’t look away.
As Sam Groth says, “it’s Fabio”.
He already made the front page of this tournament for a terrible clash with his compatriot Salvatore Caruso, which he survived in an extraordinary five-set game, then rubbed it with some dismissive verbalization as the pair met at the net for the handshake.
Caruso was not impressed by Fognini’s insistence that his opponent was “lucky” – a word he apparently pronounced consistently in Italian with a little salt and pepper – throughout the game. match as Caruso painted the lines with his ground shots.
Fognini, unsure of the reason for all the fuss, actually had the nerve to ask for an apology for suggesting he was out of place. “He’s Fabio” after all.
So it’s fair to say that the final local prospect in the men’s draw will have some weight when he takes the court against Fognini tonight.
“He’s crazy about talent but you never know which Fabio is going to show up and I think that’s one thing; it’s the stranger with him when he shows up, you don’t know what you’re going to get”, Groth told Wide World. Sports.
“He could show up and play amazing tennis, I mean the guy is still 16e seed here for a reason. His best tennis is amazing. But his best tennis hinges on the fact that he wasn’t completely crazy that day. “
Fognini jumps to the net to check his compatriot
The comedic end of Fognini’s second-round game on Thursday night is far from the only time his wild personality has gained attention in Melbourne.
He became somewhat infamous for hitting the strings of his racquet when he was coiled and at last year’s Australian Open he beat him so hard in one game he tore his fingers and began to bleed on the ground.
Surprisingly, he won this match, a five-set thriller against fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson in the second round. He returned two nights later to strike 22-seeded Argentinian Guido Pella in straight sets before losing in the fourth round to controversial American Tennys Sandgren.
He regularly bounces off controversies and long five sets to win the next game. There is no better sentence to explain it than a rude sentence; ‘zero [insert expletive here] given’. He is Fabio and according to Groth, his emotion should scare Minaur.
“I think part of the emotion of anger is not the worst thing for a player and not the worst for him,” said Groth.
“That’s when it goes the other way around and it almost goes into its shell and starts to recover. When you lose that energy, sometimes that negative emotion is still high energy.
“It’s when he goes the other way and starts throwing in the towel that you really worry about his chances of winning, when he says nothing and starts to lower his shoulders. . “
Yet, of all the players on the Tour, de Minaur may be the most equipped personality to deal with the bipolar display he’s likely to see on the other side.
In many ways, tonight’s game is like fire against ice. You can guess which is which.
“Playing someone like that isn’t easy because what you’re doing is very focused, but you’re aware of what’s going on on the other end,” Groth said.
“It’s almost like you have an injured opponent or you have someone tanking on the other end, it was hard to keep doing what you are doing because you are almost waiting for them to implode.”
“But we also know ‘Demon’ is so good at going about his own business and that’s what makes him so good. He doesn’t have the greatest weapons, but he’s quick and he’s minding his own business and I think if Fognini starts doing the shit that we see, Demon has that ability now where he’s quite mature and that’s is a player good enough to deal with what he is doing at his end. “
The demon watches a third clash with the fiery Fognini
De Minaur won’t know what to expect from Fognini, but if the Italian brings his A game, beating him won’t be easy.
The basic rallies will be done on the racquet of Fognini. The key to mitigating his attacks, however, may lie in de Minaur’s greater strength. Its speed and ability to pick up stray bullets is a cause for almost everyone.
Like a coiled puppy, Minaur has the ability to frustrate; even exasperate.
“He’s going to get Demon to hit a lot of balls, but I think Demon’s speed, I have Demon as the fastest guy in the top 100, I mean his real kicking speed, and I think he will be able to take time away from Fognini, and press him down a bit, stand on the end line, ”Groth said.
“You have to rush Fognini’s forehand and really get the upper hand on his serve. I think Fognini, his serve can be a little choppy sometimes, you just have to get the upper hand.
“He’s good from the start, that’s why he’s ranked where he is. But for Demon, take care of your own serve, and Fabio will undoubtedly give you a chance.”