It was Fabio Fognini, a native of San Remo, who won Sunday’s title at the Rolex Masters in Monte-Carlo. At almost 32 years old, the Italian player, known for his strong character, registered an important career win. He won in two sets (6-4, 6-4) against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

Prior to the Fognini victory, in doubles play, the Croatian pair composed of Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor completed a list of surprising winners in a very exciting 2019 edition.

The beautiful days of spring are back and with them comes the clay court professional tennis season. And while we were waiting for Rafael Nadal’s fourth title at the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, Fabio Fognini played precision tennis to take the title. In two sets, the whimsical transalpine player earned the long-awaited coronation; it is indeed the first victory of Masters 1000 for the player, after more than ten years on the circuit. His victory tastes like a homecoming: native to San Remo, he grew up less than fifty kilometers from the Rock.

A beautiful week for tennis

If the final was marked by gusts of wind that prevented the two challengers from expressing themselves better during certain phases of the game, the weather conditions did not detract from the Italian player’s flair.

Fabio Fognini, having beaten in half the favorite Rafael Nadal, came to end a dearth of fifty-one years for Italian tennis on the Rock. The last winner of the tournament from Italy, Nicola Pietrangeli, was at the match and congratulated his successor after his win.

In doubles, the surprising Dutch pair Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof, who eliminated the No. 1 seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the first round, did not end up going the distance against the solid Croatians Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor. The match was well contested, with each pair winning a tie-break, before a third set as an apotheosis where Mektic and Skugor got the best of the Dutchmen (11-9 in the last leg).

The 2019 edition of the Rolex Masters will have revealed its share of surprise and ended the reign of a Rafael Nadal who will undoubtedly want to bounce back for Roland Garros!

*Article originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.