Earn 18 Fewer Points & Still Win? No Problem For Djokovic & Fognini
Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini are competing alongside one another for the first time at the BNP Paribas Open, but it’s been tough to tell. The Serbian-Italian duo beat Indian Rohan Bopanna and #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 on Sunday evening in front of an energetic Stadium 2 crowd to reach the third round in Indian Wells.
Bopanna and Shapovalov won 18 points more than Djokovic and Fognini, yet they were unable to get across the finish line. Fognini missed a sitting forehand volley from right on top of the net on his team’s first match point at 9-7 in the Match Tie-break. But Shapovalov hit a forehand in the net on the next point to end the match after 61 minutes.
“It’s great. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did,” Djokovic said on court after the match. “It was a lot of fun. Fabio is one of the funniest guys on the [ATP] Tour. I smile a lot on the court [with him]. [In the] second set [there was] not much smiling, actually. But generally, it was a great match.”
While Fognini lost earlier Sunday in singles against Moldovan Radu Albot, he has enjoyed success on the doubles court in the past. The Italian has captured five tour-level doubles titles, including his triumph with compatriot Simone Bolelli at the 2015 Australian Open. The on-court reporter reminded the winning duo of that after the match.
“Remember that Nole, you understand?” Fognini joked.
Later in the day, sixth seeds and 2017 finalists Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo got the better of wild cards Taylor Fritz and Nick Kyrgios in an entertaining 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 victory over 73 minutes. They will next challenge two-time former champions and fourth seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan or Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor in the quarter-finals.
Seventh seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus ousted Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 29 minutes. Klaasen and Venus saved five of the seven break points they faced to advance to the third round.
In first-round action, third seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic beat Italians Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-0. Wild cards Mackenzie McDonald and Reilly Opelka dismissed Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Gael Monfils 7-6(5), 6-3.