Fabio Fognini executed a comprehensive victory at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open final in Gstaad on Sunday beating Yannick Hanfmann 6-4, 7-5 and laying claim to his first title of the year and fifth of the ATP tournament.
Throughout the tournament, Fognini went about his matches with an aggressive but steady technique before finally kissing the trophy in Gstaad. He delivered 21 winners including two aces. While Hanfmann incurred 18 unforced errors, Fognini made just 11. It was the first title for the 30-year-old Italian in just over a year, since prevailing on the clay of Umag in 2016. All five of his victories have come on clay.
Fognini had this to say, “It’s always a good feeling when you win. Our job is winning matches and of course, I’m happy with this. It was a really tough week for me. I remember my first match was really difficult. I couldn’t play. I lost the first set 6-1 in 20 minutes, but in the end, I won the match. I said to my team that if I continue playing like that, I’ll go home. That’s the sport. Every day I was feeling better and now I’m here with the title.”
Both Fognini and Hanfmann were remarkably consistent throughout all seven combined matches entering the final. From the very first serve against his German opponent, Fognini was in form and in focus, starting off the match with a break followed by another after two more games eventually allowing him to rack up an impossible 4-0 lead and secure the first set after 40 minutes on the Roy Emerson Arena.
Hanfmann managed to deter a break point in the first game of the second set, but despite his efforts to elicit a tie-break, Fognini came back strongly from 40/15 at the 11th. A masterful backhand won him the decisive break and a game later served out the match. By the end of a battle lasting an hour and 33 minutes, Fognini secured victory on his first championship point.
When asked if the title was perhaps as fulfilling as fatherhood, Fognini said, ” Yes, for sure. This is the first title as a father, so it’s something different and special.”
For a successful run at Gstaad, Fognini will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and prize money worth €85,945; a fitting comeback to the ATP World Tour 250 event since a disappointing defeat in the final round of qualifying a decade earlier in 2007. Currently sitting at No. 29, Fognini is en route to securing a spot in the Top 20, along with a quarter-final showing in Umag and third round results at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Fognini is the first Italian to win the title and third to qualify for the final in Gstaad. The only other two players who managed it were Adriano Panatta (1972 and ’76) and Andreas Seppi (2007).
As for this year’s final, Hanfmann receives 150 points €45,265 in prize money. Despite losing the final, Hanfmann has still had the best week of his career as a professional player of Tennis, emerging victorious in six matches over seven days as a qualifier and taking his first Top 50 win toppling over defending champion, Feliciano Lopez. He also unsettled Robin Haase having saved four match points in the semis. It is estimated that he will rise 50 spots to a career-high in the Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 125. Speaking of his opponent and his campaign in Gstaad, Hanfmann said, “Fabio was the better man today, he deserves to win. I had an amazing week here in Gstaad, the crowd was great. I come from college tennis and I’m used to great crowds, but the atmosphere here was unbelievable.”