Exciting Monday @CroatiaOpenUmag
Stefano Berlincioni, Tennis Atlantic
Another exciting day in Croatia!
Organizers decided to start matches at 5 pm because of the heat so I arrived a bit earlier because they arranged a little press conference with Toni Androic, Lawrence Frankopan, Ronald Korotaj and Lord Nicholas Windsor. During the conference, Androic said something like, this year “ATP Umag” should have been named “Survivor” as the TV reality show because it’s really tough for players to compete under this sun.
Lord Nicholas Windsor (his father is the Sir that lifts the trophy at the end of Wimbledon) is enjoying his stay here and he loves Croatia as his wife was born here.
After this quick press, there was a models show organized by Lotto This video shows here you some nice models.
Later I came to the courts, finding Monfils practicing doubles with Mamata, a pretty unknown guy who he is playing doubles with here. Gael looked very relaxed, but training was very serious.
Other players were training to adapt to the tough conditions.
Finally, last round qualifying matches started and I decided to attend Bagnis-Trevisan as I thought this could have been a close and entertaining match.
Trevisan def. Bagnis 76 16 61
Bagnis was too erratic during first set but Trevisan had to dictate rallies with forehand because when the Argentinean was hitting cross forehand on his backhand he was often in trouble. Like yesterday, Trevisan played a great tiebreak again but it has to be said that the end was quite shocking: Bagnis served 3-6 on tiebreak, failed first serve, got angry with the umpire because ballkids were moving and hit the second serve underarm superflat on purpose in the middle of the net. What a way to end a set!
Trevisan had a break point in the first game of the second set but Bagnis saved it and then cruised, playing way better so I left the court to attend other matches. I came back with Trevisan 2-0 up in the third and the Italian was playing very solid again, serving very well and hitting huge forehands. Bagnis wasn’t playing his best, but credit to the Italian who also served a 222 kmh last serve of the match.
Fabbiano def. Gonzalez 64 64
I could watch only the end of the match, as when I arrived the Argentinean was having a medical time out for a problem to his right foot. It didn’t’ appear to be a bad injury but Fabbiano stayed focused and played really solid tennis, very deep with no unforced errors. He was so happy in the end as an ATP qualification for a player with his ranking is always a nice achievement.
Trinker def. Melzer 76 62
I arrived here on 76 31* and they were playing a very long game, with Melzer fist-pumping after every break point saved, but yesterday he didn’t serve well. Melzer looked completely dead and spent after he was broken and Trinker held very easily on *4-1. I expected Melzer to be broken here because he was really walking on court, but Trinker was not able to put a single return on court. He then held with ace, ace, ace, service winner.
Fognini def. Vesely 64 64
Night session match was the highlight of the day: Fognini-Vesely.
Umag is quite close to Italy (45 min by car from the border) so Fabio has a lot of Italians fans here and he is loved everywhere he plays because he is one of the much entertaining players on court.
From the very first rallies, you could notice that Fognini was quite relaxed and focused and he had the full control of the match. It was just a matter of time for him to take the lead. He complained with the umpire for the court conditions at the baseline (and he was right) but he never got angry as the court was adjusted during next changeover. He was almost always dictating the rallies and Vesely had a tough time looking for winners. The match appeared to be almost over with Fognini leading 64 20 and 3 straight breakpoints. Vesely saved them all with some stunning winners and ‘someone’ was worried, because you never know with Fabio. He didn’t lost control of his nerves despite a probable drunk guy in the stands cheering very loudly for Vesely. Fognini took the set, 64 and the match.
I had a quick chat with Fognini’s father (Fulvio) who always gives Fabio great support and he said he was very happy with Fabio’s performance as he never looked in danger and was physically and mentally ready to play a great tournament. He was also worried when Vesely held that 0-40 and he was very satisfied with Fabio’s reaction after he lost that game.
We even talked a bit about Trevisan and Fulvio told me that when Matteo was 18 yo he was really impressive. He could hit very hard, but Fulvio said that when you are young and you are one of the best you have to do the right choices or the guys that are behind you…pass you. He was also happy for Trevisan’s qualification as the guy really deserved bigger stages than the ITF provides.