Both Fabio Fognini and Alexander Zverev will seek to match their career best run at a slam on Monday, facing off for a spot in the quarter finals of the French Open. While both men are very competent on the clay, it will still be a tough ask for the winner to bet that run with Novak Djokovic likely awaiting in the next round.
Fognini appears to have found a new level of consistent recently and may find himself a top 10 player for the first time after the tournament, more so if he wins this match. The Italian won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo and is full of confidence here after winning three straight four setters to get to this stage. “I’m tired. I feel some pain, but I have more than one day to recover. Hopefully that is nothing serious, and I’ll try to recover as best I can,” Fognini said. The Italian previously made the last 8 in 2011, following a wild five setter with Albert Montanes. He won 11-9 in the decider but would have to have withdraw with an injury picked up in that match.
Zverev’s failure to live up to his ranking at grand slams has been well documented with the current No.5 having many disappointing losses. He has had to play another two five setters already this week, most recently defeating Dusan Lajovic in the third round. He is 5-0 in them at Roland Garros but is more than familiar with the reputation he is getting now. “They didn’t explain to me the rules of five sets yet, so somebody needs to tell me I don’t necessarily need to play five sets every time I step on the court,” Zverev joked . “I don’t think I have ever lost in five sets here. It’s a good thing to have in the back of your head. Hopefully I can continue this run.”
It should be a fascinating clash if Zverev is nearing a return to his best while Fognini is seeking to prove he can be known for more than just his sometimes immature on-court antics. A win here and the opportunity to take on Djokovic will be a big moment for both players.
Prediction – Fabio Fognini in five sets