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Fognini Prevails In Drama-Filled Fourth Round

Paris, France

Fognini© Getty ImagesFabio Fognini reacts after overcoming Albert Montanes in the second-longest match of the tournament.

In a dramatic fourth-round clash at Roland Garros on Sunday, Italy’s Fabio Fognini reached his first major quarter-final as he saved five match points and fought through cramp to defeat Albert Montanes 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9. Lasting four hours and 22 minutes, it was the second longest match of the tournament so far.

World No. 49 Fognini twice came from behind to force a deciding fifth set and was on the brink of defeat when Montanes served for the match at 5-3. The Spaniard could not close out victory, though, and was later denied on two match point opportunities at 7-8 and a further three at 8-9.

With Fognini cramping in the latter stages, he was forced to go for broke on his shots, further adding to the drama on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The Italian’s restricted movement particularly hindered him when serving and caused him to commit a spate of foot faults. Despite his difficulties, Fognini broke the No. 38-ranked Montanes’ in the 19th game and, after going from 40/0 to 40/30 due to a foot fault on second serve, closed out victory on his third opportunity.

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It is not the first time that Fognini has been at the centre of the drama at Roland Garros. Last year the 24 year old was involved in a gripping five-set match with Gael Monfils that was suspended at 5-5 in the decider due to bad light. He returned the following day to beat the Frenchman 9-7 in the fifth set.

Fognini is the first Italian man to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam championship since Davide Sanguinetti at 1998 Wimbledon. The last Italian man to reach the quarter-finals in Paris was Renzo Furlan in 1995.

After a day to recover, Fognini will be the latest challenger to attempt to derail World No. 2 Novak Djokovic.

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