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Arthur Rinderknech eliminated by Fabio Fognini in the 1st round in Monte Carlo

There were of course more lenient draws than the one which assigned Fabio Fognini to Arthur Rinderknech as their first opponent in Monte-Carlo. But the 26-year-old Frenchman, 59th player in the world, demonstrated once again on Monday that he had not usurped his installation on the main circuit in recent months. He nevertheless ended up losing after 2h28 of play (7-5, 4-6, 6-3).

Winner of his only Masters 1000 three years ago in Monte-Carlo, Fognini likes to play on the Rock and he has all the panoply of a skilled landsman. Slips, touch, flashes. And dilettantism, of course. Rinderknech himself not being clumsy on this surface, where last year he beat two of the three top 20 he has on his record (Roberto Bautista Agut, 16th, at Gstaad, and Jannik Sinner, 17th, at Lyon), he caused a lot of problems for Fognini with his permanent commitment.

Opposite, the intermittent talent was first generous: a big cagade on an easy smash, a lazy drop shot and a static forehand allowed the Frenchman to break at 1-1 but he didn’t know how. confirm his lead, joined immediately at 2-2. Same at 4-4. Several gifts from Italy allowed him to serve for the set but Fognini then unleashed two unstoppable forehands, including one in return, to pick up. In the process, he took the opposing service a third time, a few moments later, to conclude the set after 56 minutes (7-5).

A duel between Fognini and Tsitsipas

Still trying to move forward with energy against a performer who plays while walking, Rinderknech went for another second set entry break. This one, he never let go, despite the Italian’s seven break opportunities, including two at 5-4, saved by as many aces (7-5, 4-6 after 1:50).

But in the final set, without ever developing rock solidity, Fognini maintained enough focus and application to race in the lead until the end, authoritatively fending off two final break points at 5-3. He will face in the second round the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, world No. 5 and defending champion.

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