As the whole world is focused on the Swiss maestro Roger Federer on centre court, meanwhile on court Suzanne Lenglen, a battle has taken place between two unseeded players.
Representing Spain, we have Albert Montanes, thirty years old, ranked number 38 and fighting for his first ever grand slam quarter final.
On the other side of the net we have Italian Fabio Fognini, twenty four years old, ranked 47 in the world and just reached the fourth round of a gran slam for the fist time.
The match was scheduled as the first in Suzanne Lenglen. Many were focused instead on Vera Zvonereva who lost her fourth round match today against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. By this time, the match had already reached the fourth set which was won by the Italian, leveling it at two sets all and the beginning of the fifth and final set.
Albert Montanes began to take control as he lead 5-2 in the final set. However, he failed to take advantage of this lead as Fognini fought back to equal 5-5. Both men then continued to hold their games comfortably, with Montanes fighting for a few match points.
As Fognini served at 6-7, 15-30, two points from defeat, he suddenly began to feel the unbearable pain of cramps in his left thigh. A controversial decision was made as he received a medical time out mid-game and fighting for serve. It’s interesting to note that medical timeouts for cramps in no longer allowed.
However Fabio continued to fight back, only restricted to move side by side. He faced numerous match points which were wasted by Montanes and also made a large number of foot faults. The crowd were divided, some were supporting his fighting spirit, other accused him of cheating.
After blowing several match points, Montanes lost his service game which put Fognini ahead at 10-9. After 4 hours and 22 minutes, he served through the pain to stun the thirty year old and win his match 4-6 6-4 3-6 6-3 11-9. Up next, Fognini will face Novak Djokovic in his first grand slam quarter final. This makes him the first Italian man into the final 8 of Roland Garros since 1995.
The Italian committed a total of 104 errors in the match. He admitted after the match that he may be unable to compete in his quarter final match saying “I am in a lot of pain. It’s not cramp, I felt the muscle stretch. I have 48 hours to recover. I don’t know about the next match. I will go and see the doctor and then see what happens.”
Many fans have shown support for Fognini, while other have labeled him as a drama queen. For me, Fognini fought hard and showed his fierce fighting spirit which he brings to the game. In my opinion, this has been the best match so far in this years french open. I’m excited to see what he’ll bring to the ATP tour in the future. Although it’s certain Djokovic will win, i’ll be going for the underdog Fognini in their next match. Good Luck Fabio Fognini in your next match and your future in your tennis career.