Assured Zverev Silences Romans With Fognini Win
Young German awaits winner of Raonic or Berdych
Alexander Zverev, the #NextGenATP German, booked a place in his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season (also Miami, Madrid) on Thursday with victory over Italian favourite Fabio Fognini at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The 20-year-old Zverev silenced supporters at the Foro Italico with a performance of great maturity and efficiency in a 6-3, 6-3 win over 78 minutes. He will next face a fellow big-server, fifth seed Milos Raonic.
Zverev, the No. 16 seed, controlled the pair’s first meeting – breaking once in the first set for a 3-1 lead, and later winning five straight games to 4-0 in the second set. Despite the best efforts of the Roman crowd, Fognini’s frustration was evident for all to see.
"It was a great match for me," said Zverev. "I think I played very well [and] was very aggressive from the baseline. Fabio is someone who plays well here. And he beat the World No. 1 a few days ago, so I just felt like I was feeling the ball very well and was very aggressive. It worked out well for me."
Zverev is now 24-9 on the season, which includes capturing two ATP World Tour titles at the Open Sud de France (d. Gasquet) and the BMW Open by FWU (l. to Pella). He leads the Emirates ATP Race To Milan for one of eight spots at the 21-and-under Next Gen ATP Finals from 7-11 November.
Fognini, who recorded the biggest win of his career over World No. 1 Andy Murray on Tuesday night, had been trying to become the first Italian to reach the Rome quarter-finals since Andreas Seppi in 2012. He will now return home to his wife, 2015 US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, who is due to give birth to their first child on Friday.
Canadian Raonic was dominant on serve – losing just one of his first service points, and seven service points overall – in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Czech No. 12 seed Tomas Berdych in just 62 minutes. Raonic, now 17-4 on the year, will be hoping to book a spot in the last four for the second time (also 2014).