A rather unexpected final in Hamburg between the qualifier Federico Delbonis and the twelfth seed, Fabio Fognini.
Delbonis recorded the biggest win of his career to date in the semi-final, defeating top seed Roger Federer in straight sets. As surprising as the result was, the final outcome cannot be argued with as the Argentinean was the better player throughout. His serve was very effective, his play off the ground was very confident and he was the better player on the clutch points. He was able to get the upper hand in the points and expose the poor movement and defensive play of the former world number one. He targeted the Federer backhand with heavy topspin as Nadal has done on many occasions and was rewarded with an excellent result. He has played solidly all week, especially on the big points, having saved multiple match points in his previous match against Fernando Verdasco.
Fabio Fognini continues to finally demonstrate the natural talent that he possesses. His play at the moment would not be out of place in a top-10 player and his confidence is sky-high. He broke Almagro in the first game and battled hard to defend his own serve throughout before playing a clinical tiebreak in the second set. His defensive play was outstanding, constantly frustrating the Spaniard during the rallies and drawing the errors. He is yet to drop a set this week and having waited so many years for his first ATP title, he now has the rare chance to win titles in back-to-back weeks.
Their only previous meeting was on the clay back in 2011 in Madrid. Federico Delbonis was the surprise winner in three close sets, although both players have pushed on since then, particularly the Italian.
What They Said
“I’m really confident and I’m really focussed, especially on the important points. I know what I have to do and what not” – Fabio Fognini following his 6-4, 7-6 win over Nicolas Almagro
“I feel like I’m dreaming. My key was to enjoy the match and enjoy playing this kind of player because he’s the best of all-time” – Federico Delbonis after his 7-6, 7-6 win over Roger Federer
As well as Delbonis has played this week, it is tough to look beyond the Italian. It is incredibly difficult to back up a career best win such as this and Delbonis also has the pressure of this being his first ATP final. The way that Fognini is playing on the clay at the moment, there are very few players that could stop him. His confidence is sky-high and despite his back-to-back runs to finals, he has played relatively little tennis this week having finished all his matches in straight sets. I would be very surprised if this does not end in a straight sets with for the Italian.
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