Stefanos Tsitsipas fights back to beat Fabio Fognini in Indian Wells

The 30th seed rattled the Greek player early on, but Tsitsipas worked his way back into the match to register a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and four minutes.

Stefanos Tsitsipas in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas has recovered brilliantly from a set and a break down to get past former World No. 9 Fabio Fognini in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday. The 30th seed rattled the Greek player early on, but Tsitsipas worked his way back into the match to register a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and four minutes. It set a fourth-round meeting with 22nd seed Alex de Minaur after the Australian’s 6-4, 6-2 win against 15th seed Cristian Garin. As a result, Tsitsipas extended his ATP Head-2-Head record against the Italian to 3-0. In the end, he finished with 21 winners – including 10 off the forehand – and 28 unforced errors. On the other hand, Fognini clocked 32 winners – 22 of those off his forehand – but committed 32 unforced errors.

“Great comeback, honestly… I don’t know what happened,” Tsitsipas said. “I really wanted to get back in the match and it happened somehow. From [a set and a break down] I just took it point by point and it worked out pretty well. A good mindset and also a bit of patience helped as well. I found solutions in those tough moments and really felt like I had momentum.”

Earlier, Fognini started the brighter of the two, as he set the tone, breaking in the opening game on Stadium 1. His sustained aggression prevented Tsitsipas from making any real inroads as the first set wore on. The Italian withstood a break point before closing out the set.

Fognini pressed early in the second set as he broke for 2-1. With the crowd support on his side, the second seed broke for the first time to draw level. Tsitsipas then found the momentum, and made the most of the advantage to level the match at a set apiece. 

He then capitalised on unforced errors from the Italian to clinch the crucial break for 3-2 in the decider. There was no stopping the Greek player after that, as he extended his tour-leading match wins this season to 53.

Zverev battles past Murray in Indian Wells

A resilient Alexander Zverev played extremely well to eliminate former World No. 1 Andy Murray at the BNP Paribas Open. Despite falling behind a break in both sets, the third seed overcame Murray 6-4, 7-6 to reach the fourth round in Indian Wells for the first time since 2016.

“He’s the only one of the Big Four that I hadn’t beaten yet, so I’m happy that I’ve done it today,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “Obviously it was a fantastic match. I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he’s played since the surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way, because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it’s good to have him back.”

“I always stayed in the match, even though I was down a break in both sets. I always knew I had a chance. Especially the second set I think was an extremely high level from both of us. It could have gone both ways.”

Murray, on his part, said, “The positive for me to take from it is I obviously had opportunities again. I mean, I guess that’s positive. I didn’t feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that’s positive. But yeah, I’m disappointed because I obviously want to be winning these matches. I haven’t in the past few months.”

Sportslumo Desk

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