Fognini Claims Fifth ATP World Tour Crown In Gstaad
Fabio Fognini was a man in command on Sunday at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad, ousting Yannick Hanfmann 6-4, 7-5 to claim his fifth ATP World Tour title and first of the year.
Fognini played steady, attacking tennis en route to hoisting the trophy in the Swiss Alps mountain town of Gstaad. He fired 21 winners, including two aces, while committing just 11 unforced errors, to Hanfmann's 18. It was the first title for the Italian in just over a year, since prevailing on the clay of Umag in 2016. All five of his victories have come on the dirt.
"It's always a good feeling when you win," said Fognini. "Our job is winning matches and of course I'm happy with this. It was a really tough week for me. I remember my first match was really difficult. I couldn't play. I lost the first set 6-1 in 20 minutes, but in the end I won the match. I said to my team that if I continue playing like that, I'll go home. That's the sport. Every day I was feeling better and now I'm here with the title."
Both players exhibited little signs of rust after going the distance in all seven combined matches entering the final. Facing the German qualifier Hanfmann for the first time, Fognini was dialed in from the first ball, breaking immediately to open the match. Another break two games later would see him open an insurmountable 4-0 lead and the 30 year old would notch the first set after 40 minutes on Roy Emerson Arena.
Hanfmann fought off a break point in the first game of the second set, but with the first-time finalist pushing to force a tie-break, Fognini battled back from 40/15 down in the 11th game. He struck a backhand winner to claim the decisive break and served out the match a game later. The Italian closed out the victory on his first championship point after one hour and 33 minutes.
"Yes, for sure," Fognini said, when asked if the title is any sweeter as a new father. "This is the first title as a father, so it's something different and special."
Fognini picks up €85,945 in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points for a successful return to Gstaad. It was his first trip to the ATP World Tour 250 event in 10 years, since losing in the final round of qualifying in 2007. The World No. 29 is rediscovering his top form in his push to return to the Top 20, also coming off third round results at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and a quarter-final showing in Umag. Fognini is the third different Italian to reach the final in Gstaad and first to win the title, following runner-up finishes by Adriano Panatta in 1972 and '76 and Andreas Seppi in 2007.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Hanfmann will celebrate the best week of his professional career. In addition to winning six matches in seven days as a qualifier and claiming his first Top 50 win over defending champion Feliciano Lopez, the German saved four match points in upsetting Robin Haase in the semi-finals. Projected to soar nearly 50 spots to a career-high No. 125 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Hanfmann takes home €45,265 in prize money and 150 points.
"Fabio was the better man today, he deserves to win," said Hanfmann. "I had an amazing week here in Gstaad, the crowd was great. I come from college tennis and I'm used to great crowds, but the atmosphere here was unbelievable."