Fognini Gets First Win Over Nishikori

Miami Open, USA

[4] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. [40] Fabio Fognini (ITA)

If you have ever watched a match where Fognini was fully engaged, you are stunned at how talented he is.  The next thought that crosses your mind is “Why has he never won a Major or a Masters 1000?” It has been said repeatedly that the mental aspect of the game plays a huge role in the career of some players and it’s no more evident than when you watch a player like Fognini. He can play brilliantly one minute and abysmally the next.  Nishikori may have been struggling with an injury today but Fognini still had to win this match and he showcased his talent with some brilliant shots.

What has impressed me recently is that his antics are still present; however, he seems to be refocusing much quicker on playing consistently high quality tennis these days.  In the past, once he started getting distracted, he would continue to slide into a negative place and not recover in time to salvage the match. He got anxious, understandably so, this would be a big victory for him if he could close it out. He could not serve it out and double faulted to keep Nishikori in the match.


The serve is the one aspect of the game that you are totally in control of; thus, it is the area most likely to reveal just how anxious you are.  It’s the reason a player is encouraged to hold their serve and make their opponent serve it out, because a less mentally strong player may stumble and give you an opportunity to get back into the match.  That happened today, but Fognini did not go away, he fought back in the next game to break and win the match 6-4, 6-2.



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