Fabio Fognini took the biggest event of his career yet Sunday, beating the unseeded Dusan Lajovic in the final of the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters. Set scores were 6-3, 6-4.
Fognini dominated the majority of the rallies, and while Lajovic put up a good fight for stretches, he lacked the consistency to threaten the Italian. A minor injury also couldn't slow down the 31-year-old, who shocked 11-time Monte Carlo Masters champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. It's Fognini's first ever Masters 1000 title.
Lajovic started the final using the same strategy he used against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday, patiently slicing away and waiting for Fognini to make mistakes.
It led to an early break in the third game, in part thanks to a sensational cross-court winner from the Serb, but Fognini answered right back with some solid baseline play of his own.
The level of play was incredibly high in the early stages, with the two serving up some amazing rallies:
But it was Fognini who appeared to have the upper hand whenever the rallies lasted beyond a few groundstrokes. The Italian blasted his way past Nadal with some excellent winners, and he picked up where he left off against Lajovic, earning himself another break with much of the same.
Per tennis writer Carole Bouchard, Lajovic wasn't helping matters with some poor decision-making:
Up 4-2, Fognini continued his fine play from the baseline, relying on his serve to close out the first set. Lajovic did well to cut out some of the mistakes from his game and managed to hold serve the rest of the way, but while he pushed for a break in the ninth game, it was the Italian who secured the advantage after the first set.
Per Tennis TV, it marked Lajovic's first lost set of the tournament:
Fognini carried his momentum straight into the next set, breaking serve after some good back-and-forths between the two.
But just as Lajovic seemed ready to wilt under the pressure, the Serb bounced back from a poor backhand to hit two excellent winners and break right back. Here is one of those winners:
The two continued to go blow for blow until Fognini secured yet another break, this time in the fifth game. He required medical attention immediately after, however:
The injury didn't appear to bother him too much in the next game, however, as Fognini held serve.
He would cruise the rest of the way, once again serving out the set to grab his first Masters 1000 title.