The clay of Rome is finally open to take the heat as we look forward to the start of another tantalizing tournament. It is the World no.1 Andy Murray, gearing up to face an early challenge from the local boy, Fabio Fognini in the Round of 32 for the Italian Open.
The Scot is combating to find his form after an early exit from Madrid. The Scot currently is the World No.1, but has placed himself in a difficult position to lose the crown as the likes of Novak Djokovic are hustling nearer to dismantle him. Murray was totally out of form when he played his last game against Borna Coric, sqaundering easily in what was a straight set win for the Croat. Losing, 3-6, 3-6, he was completely out of touch when the Croat demanded more from him to be overthrown. And to prove his struggling form, are the stats that show him go down to a 50% winning margin in the last 10 games. That seems quite a horrendous form to have for a crowned player!
To the surprise, his adversary is also entering the match-up with an akin form. Fognini having won his R64 match against Berretini in an effortless straight set win, 6-1, 6-1, he showed an act of class in making his way to the R32. The Italian hasn’t won any major titles apart from Umag in 2016, he is also pecking down the order twinning his contrary. Though, the 29th seeded, isn’t a man to be underestimated, looking after his play against the Madrid Open 2017 Finalist and a potential winner, Rafael Nadal, making him sweat for his win.
With a first serve percent averaging 59%, the Italian could find it tough to compete against the Scot. Murray, would surely be looking forward to defending his 1000 points he won the last year at Rome, and he would surely be toughened up to prove his dictatorial power to his counter parts after being warned by the Serb, Djokovic, in a statement wherein he said, ” I am coming for the No.1 Spot.”
Head to Head – Foginini and Murray have faced each other 5 times with the Scot winning 3 of those. Their last meeting took place in the Olympics, 2016, in the R16 where Murray triumphed 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
It would be a compelling match up when these two go face to face, with a must win for the struggling Murray in a bid to retain his form and substantiate his competency.