Saturday, 22 September 2012 05:00

St. Petersburg Midweek Rundown

Written by 
Tu vuò fà l'italiano
Fabio Fognini is an expressive player. At any point in the match, you might see him screaming out into the ceiling or his team (often, his own name), striking out balls or throwing his racquet. But all his flare-ups are just part of the game. "I do nothing," Fognini says.

Meanwhile, his team does not seem to pay attention to the player's outbursts either. During Fognini's tough match with Tobias Kamke in the First Round, Fognini's player bench, along with fellow Italian player Simone Bolelli, when not chuckling at Fognini's screaming, were discussing... pasta. Bolelli, who lost in the First Round, was choosing between mushroom and carbonara sauce.

Fognini has been playing into the tournament. While he was close to losing his match with Kamke, the German helping Fognini to survive by letting go of a break advantage, he was leading most of his match against Sergiy Stakhovsky and only stumbled when closing it out. His quarterfinal match vs Spain's Robert Bautista-Agut was the most straightforward one yet. Although Fognini failed to serve out the match leading 6-4, 5-4, he took the second set tiebreak easily, to win 6-4, 7-6(1) and looks to be the favorite in his Semifinal match against Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

Sick Ward
Wednesday was sick day in St. Petersburg, beginning with Igor Andreev's withdrawal from the tournament. Andreev had injured his left shoulder during Russia's Davis Cup loss in Brazil the weekend before. While Andreev's loss upset Russian fans, he had never had much success at the St. Petersburg Open, never having moved past the Second Round.

There were also retirements on Wednesday. Philipp Petzhner retired against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis with a left leg injury and Qualifier Andrey Kumantsov ended his loss to 8th seed Jurgen Zopp early, bowing out at 3-6, 3-5 with dizziness.

The next match between Berankis and Zopp also resulted in the Lithuanian benefitting from injury, as Zopp stopped play after losing the first set, retiring with a lower back injury. Italy's Paolo Lorenzi also retired on Thursday versus Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, with a lower Achilles injury.

Gender Bias
Russia suffered a blow last week in a Davis Cup loss to Brazil in the World Group Play-offs , and the weaknesses in the country's men's tennis can be seen even at this ATP tournament. The vast majority of the ballkids in St. Petersburg are girls.

"What if Nike calls Rafa?"
As for the other issue in tennis bringing up gender issues in recent months, the question of prize money remains top of mind for players. Daniel Gimeno-Traver, ranked 93rd in the world, is the type of player most affected by the argued unfairness in prize money distribution between the early and later rounds at Grand Slams. The Spaniard says the issue is very much discussed in locker rooms around the ATP World and Challenger Tours and believes that players would widely support any action to achieve the prize money increase, including a boycott of the Australian Open, "if top players do it." He suggests sponsor obligations would make it difficult for the top-ranked players to skip a Grand Slam, even if they support the issue.

All the Same
"Who won? The yellow one or the white one?" – Photographer referring to Fognini's and Bautista-Agut's shirts to pick a photo caption.

Additional Info

  • Photographer: Mariya Konovalova
Read 3910 times
Mariya Konovalova

Mariya Konovalova is the Editor-in-Chief of TalkAboutTennis.com content. When not watching, photographing, writing, and editing material about tennis, she enjoys buying books she won't have time to read and films she won't have time to watch, as well as not getting enough sleep. Mariya is a graduate of Columbia University and the London School of Economics. You can contact her by e-mail (mariya(at)TalkAboutTennis.com) and follow her on Twitter (@MariyaKTennis).