Dominic Thiem’s wait for a win continues after Fabio Fognini recorded a 6-4 7-6(5) victory over the Austrian at the Italian Open in Rome.
Thiem was chasing his first victory of the year, having lost to Andy Murray at the Madrid Open last time out as he continues his comeback from a wrist injury.
The road to recovery has been difficult for the Austrian, but there were early signs he could trouble Fognini, who had the crowd behind him at his home event.
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Thiem brought up two break points in the fourth game, but Fognini saved them both before crucially breaking in the ninth game and serving out the set a game later.
Another break point came and went for Thiem early in the second set, with Fognini then breaking to 15 to lead 4-3 and saving another two break points in the game he was hoping would seal the match.
However, Thiem had other ideas, rallying to save a match point and then earning his first break at the seventh opportunity.
The set eventually went to a tie-break, where Thiem’s resistance ended as Fognini won through 7-5.
Earlier in the day, British No. 2 DanEvans fell at the first hurdle, losing in straight sets to world No. 25 NikolozBasilashvili.
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Meanwhile, there was a first tour-level win for more than 14 months for StanWawrinka, who battled past ReillyOpelka 3-6 7-5 6-2.
“I was feeling good on the court. Physically I was feeling great,” the 2015 French Open champion said. “When you don’t win a match in more than a year, you start to think about it more than what you should and not focus on the right things.
“In general I think it was a great match, great battle. I stayed positive. I start to feel much better with my tennis by the end of the second set, and the third set. I’m really happy with this victory.”
Former world No. 3 Wawrinka returned to the tour in March after missing most of 2021 with a foot injury.
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