Fognini Fights Past Gentzsch At Maia Open

Fabio Fognini (photo: Sebastião Guimarães/FPT)

MAIA, November 29, 2023 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

Main draw action at the Maia Open continued on Wednesday with the last three matches of the first round and three second-round encounters. Veterans Fabio Fognini of Italy and Frenchman Benoit Paire succeeded but both had to go the distance.

Fognini, who clinched the title of the Copa Faulcombridge in Valencia last week, opened his title bid in Maia against qualifier Tom Gentzsch from Germany.

Twenty-year-old Gentzsch saved five break points in the opening set to go for the decider, where the World No. 656 saved two set points to win the tie-break by the score of 9-7. After the set, the 36-year-old Fognini took a medical timeout to receive treatment on his right calf.

Afterwards, the Sanremo native raised his level but converted only four of his 16 break-point chances in the match. The No. 4 seed of the ATP Challenger Tour 75 tournament eventually prevailed 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-5 after two hours and 34 minutes. World No. 107 Fognini will next oppose Matteo Martineau, who eased past Spanish lucky loser Miguel Damas 6-1, 6-2.

“It was a tough match, so right now I do not have much to say. I am happy to be through and hope, that my injury will not be too serious to finish the tournament. The difference was just a little bit of experience. Now I take a shower, eat and then we will see,” Fognini said after his win.

Paire fights back

Following his successful opener against former college player Duarte Vale, No. 3 seeded  Paire faced Jaime Faria, another Portuguese wild card entry. In the first set, the former World No. 18 gained the first break, but had to go for the tiebreak, where 20-year-old Faria came back from 1-5 down to secure the decider.

Lisbon-born Faria converted four of his five break-point chances in the match, but dropped seven service games. After two hours and eight minutes, the 34-year-old Frenchman advanced 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-3. Next up for the World No. 130 will be either No. 5 seed Elias Ymer of Sweden or Denis Yevseyev from Kazakhstan, who beat Greek lucky loser Stefanos Sakellaridis 6-2, 7-6 (5).

“I should have won the first set, because I was leading there for several times. But I am happy about the win and It’s never easy to play against a local. I had a lot of ups and downs in the match, but the most important thing is to win,” the Paire said in an interview with Sport TV.


First Round – Singles

Fabio Fognini (ITA) – Tom Gentzsch (GER) 6-7 (7), 6-3, 7-5

Matteo Martineau (FRA) – Miguel Damas (ESP) 6-1, 6-2

Denis Yevseyev (KAZ) – Stefanos Sakellaridis (GRE) 6-2, 7-6 (5)

Second Round – Singles 

Benoit Paire (FRA) – Jaime Faria (POR) 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-3

Maxime Janvier (FRA) – Francisco Rocha (POR) 6-4, 6-2

Andrea Vavassori (ITA) – Karl Friberg (SWE) 6-2, 6-3