Second-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini cruised past top-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-2 to claim the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel title on Saturday in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Fognini gave up an opening break and fell in a 3-0 hole but was nearly flawless from there, starting with a streak of five consecutive games. He converted his second set point and then broke del Potro twice early in the second set to grab a 5-1 advantage and wrap up the match in 79 minutes.
Again sporting a bizarre hairstyle that he has said was the result of a lost bet, Fognini won 61 of 108 total points (56 percent) while converting all four of his opportunities to break del Potro, who had won the only previous tournament matchup between the pair.
Ranked 15th in the world, the 31-year-old Fognini claimed his third title of the year (Bastad, Sao Paulo) and eighth of his career and first ever on hardcourts. He has never ranked higher than 13th in the world in his career.
Del Potro, the world’s fourth-ranked player, had won previously in Mexico this year at Acapulco, but he lost 12 of the final 15 games of the match.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t play my best tennis in the final,” del Potro said afterward. “But Fabio deserved to win. He played a very smart game. He took all the chances to win, and I think he’s a good winner of the tournament.”
Australian Alex de Minaur staved off four match points in the second set before dispatching 16th-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4 to advance to the final in Washington D.C.
De Minuar will face top-seeded German Alexander Zverev, who cruised by 10th-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4 in just under 90 minutes, in Sunday’s final.
Rublev, 20, made quick work of American Denis Kudla, winning 6-1, 6-4 in 73 minutes, Saturday morning in a match that was delayed from Friday due to weather. The Russian then drew a matchup with de Minaur, 19, but couldn’t hang onto an early advantage during his second match of the day.
After claiming the first set with a break at love in the final game, Rublev stormed out to a 6-2 lead in the second-set tiebreaker, but de Minuar claimed the next six points to even the match at a set apiece.
In the third set, de Minaur broke Rublev three times after failing to do so at all through two sets. The third break came on de Minaur’s fourth match point, on the 12th point of the 10th game of the set.
“I’m incredibly proud of myself. I dug deep,” de Minaur said afterward. “I just couldn’t see myself going any further. But I kept pushing myself, kept trying every single point and managed to turn that around. That’s probably the best win of my career.”
Slovakia’s Martin Klizan dominated a battle of qualifiers, beating Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-2 in Kitzbuhel, Austria to claim the tournament title.
Klizan won 56 of 92 points (61 percent), converted all four of his break opportunities and saved all four against him, wrapping up the victory in just 67 minutes. Klizan’s breaks came on Istomin’s second and third service games in each set, leading to a 5-1 advantage both times.
“I think my performance today was the best of the tournament,” Klizan said afterward. “There was pressure for both of us ... I did a great job today and I deserved to win. I played a very solid game.”
The title is his first of the year and makes the 29-year-old 6-0 in finals appearances in his career.
“Sometimes in the finals I was lucky, sometimes it was hard work and sometimes I was better on court,” Klizan said. .”.. I am just happy to have that kind of statistic, winning six titles from six finals. In doubles, I have four titles from four finals ... It is very good and I am very proud.”
Istomin has two career titles, none this year.
—Field Level Media