Yesterday’s match between Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini for the first round of the Rome Masters 1000 was a highly anticipated duel. The Italian player emerged victorious after a hard-fought battle lasting almost three hours, with a final score of 6-4 4-6 6-4.
Their last match in the round of 16 at the 2019 Shanghai Masters 1000 had caused a lot of talk. That year, Fognini won in the third set tiebreak after more than three hours of play. As the Scottish player just managed to break the Italian to lead 5/4 and serve for the match, a frank discussion started around the referee’s chair. Murray reproached the Italian for talking during the points just before he hit the ball and asked him to “shut up”.
In his book, Fognini had been open about his rocky relationship with Murray. He admitted that they both had fiery tempers and often clashed on the court. “When we are on the court, we despise each other,” he had written.
Despite this history, yesterday’s match was played in a more relaxed atmosphere. Murray managed to keep his cool, even when the crowd was cheering loudly for the Italian player and this even on the ball of 5-3 Fognini in the first set where the chair umpire made an error of judgment, unfairly awarding the point and thus the game to Fognini. Actually, Andy Murray talked about this moment of the match on social networks.
“Stadium full of Italians booing and whistling, thinking I’m trying to cheat Fabio out of point all because Mo couldn’t read a mark properly, cheers mate”
In the next round, Fognini will face Miomir Kecmanovic (ATP 37)
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