Fognini Holds Nerve For Stuttgart Title
by ATP Staff|
Fabio Fognini became the sixth first-time ATP World Tour titlist of the season on Sunday.
Fifth seed Fognini denied second seed Philipp Kohlschreiber his fifth crown with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the MercedesCup final.
Fognini was presented €74,000 in prize money, 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points and a brand new white Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG, ‘Edition 1’ car.
"Finally, after two finals, I have won," Fognini told ATPWorldTour.com. "I played great, great tennis this week. I am really happy to have won the final."
Fognini is the second Italian to reach the final in Stuttgart after Andrea Gaudenzi was runner-up in 1994 (l. to Berasategui). He is now 1-2 in ATP World Tour title matches.
In a tense first set, which saw five service breaks, Kohlschreiber kept his nerve to edge ahead. He broke serve for the third time in the 12th game to seal the 47-minute opener.
Fognini bounced back immediately, converting his third break point opportunity in the first game of the second set. He failed to convert one set point at 5-3, when Kohlschreiber was serving at 30/40. But minutes later, the 26 year old sent the pair’s third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting to a decider.
Kohlschreiber saved two break points in the first game, but was broken to 15 at 1-1. Fognini extended the advantage and, despite slipping to 15/30 when he served for the championship at 5-4, held on to win in two hours and seven minutes.
"I was focused on my game and I think I felt fresh physically," added Fognini. "He played an incredible game when I was 4-1 up [in the third set], with a double-break. So the tension increased, but then I got some luck. I just thought about my serve and playing solid. This gives me a lot of confidence. I will never forget my first title. It would be great to play on hard courts like this.”
Kohlschreiber had been attempting to win his fourth ATP World Tour title on German soil and his fifth crown overall. He was trying to become the first home champion in Stuttgart since Michael Stich in 1991.
"It is always tough to lose in the final, especially in Germany in front of a home crowd," Kohlschreiber told ATPWorldTour.com. "Maybe it was not the best final ever, but intensity wise it was tricky. Fabio played a great tournament and I can also be happy. There was great support. I think I started badly in the second and third sets. After winning the first set, I should have been more relaxed."
Seven of Kohlschreiber’s 10 final appearances have come in Germany, including title triumphs at the 2007 and 2012 BMW Open and the 2011 Gerry Weber Open.
The 29-year-old Kohlschreiber received €39,000 and 150 Emirates ATP Ranking points.