Rome Open: Top 3 biggest upsets
Discover the most shocking wins and biggest losses at the Foro Italico, including a surprising loss for a 10-time Spanish winner.
Fabio Fogini def. Dominic Thiem
Unseeded Fabio Fognini, fuelled by a raucous Italian crowd, pulled off a major shock by beating sixth seed Dominic Thiem in the Round of 32 at the Rome Open in 2018. Thiem was widely regarded as one of the best ATP tour talents on clay and with Fognini never having surpassed the third round of the tournament, the Austrian was the heavy favorite.
However despite a second set wobble, Fognini beat the Thiem 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes with some stand out shot making. The deciding set had many twist and terms with Fognini having five break points at 2-3 but the Austrian somehow managed to hold. The following game, Fognini had two break points against him, but then rattled off six points in a row to put the pressure back on Thiem’s shoulders.
The former Italian number one soon was able to celebrate the illusive break of serve as Thiem hit a forehand wide, giving the Italian a 5-3 lead, which he was able to serve out and seal the victory.
Matteo Berrettini def. Alexander Zverev
Another Italian who was able to pull off a big upset at the Rome Open was Wildcard Matteo Berrettini. He recorded his first ever top ten victory at the 2019 Rome Open by defeating Alexander Zverev in straight sets 7-5, 7-5, in front of an electric Campo Centrale.
One break in each set was enough for the Rome native to beat the German, including in the 12th game of the second set to clinch the victory. It was also the first time that Berrettini advanced to the last 16 of an ATP Masters title event.
In contrast, Zverev, who was the 2017 Rome Open champion, was coming off a strong quarter-final run at the Madrid Open and had a remarkable 2018 season recording only 19 losses – making Berrettini’s win even more impressive.
Diego Schwartzman def. Rafael Nadal
Heading into their quarter-final clash back in 2020, the signs were ominous for the Argentinian. Nadal, who was World two at the time, was the two-time defending champion and had only lost 6 games through his first two matches of the tournament. Nadal had also beaten Schwartzman on all nine occasions in which they had previously played each other, only conceding two sets.
However, the eighth seed turned the tide in his favor, holding his ground on the baseline and traded blow-for-blow with the legendary lefty in heavy conditions. Despite some wobbly moments from the Argentine, for example when he was broken at love when serving for the match 5-4, Schwartzman did remain strong against the might of Nadal hitting a ludicrous forehand drop volley to close out the match, winning 6-2, 7-5.
Following the win, you could see how big of a victory it was for Schwartzman as he said in his press conference, “For sure it’s my best match ever. I played a few times against the three big champions in tennis. I never beat them until today. I’m very happy. It was crazy. Tennis is crazy. Our performance is always crazy. The past three weeks were really bad for me. Today I played my best tennis.”
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