Fognini Clinches Båstad Title
The third-seeded Italian, who lifted the Brasil Open title in February, converted five of 11 break-point chances en route to the victory. Fognini has now won seven tour-level crowns, with each of his triumphs coming at clay-court events.
"I'm tired, but happy at the same time. I played a lot of matches this week," said Fognini.
The World No. 15 improves to 7-9 in tour-level finals after securing his 31st victory in 45 matches at tour-level in 2018. Gasquet was also bidding to clinch his second ATP World Tour title of the season after winning his 15th tour-level trophy at the Libema Open in June.
"[Fabio] is a very good player. He played well and he deserved this win," said Gasquet. "It was my first time in Båstad... I am very happy to be here, finally. It is one of the best tournaments... for sure I will come back next year and try to win."
As a result of the one-hour, 47-minute win, Fognini levels his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Gasquet at 2-2. The 31-year-old has won both of their encounters on clay, while Gasquet has emerged victorious in their two hard-court clashes.
Gasquet made the first move on a bright day on Sweden's west coast, capitalising on a series of groundstroke errors to clinch the first break of the match. But Fognini soon found his rhythm, hitting with great depth and approaching the net at times to flip the set on its head. The Italian reeled off five consecutive games to lead 5-2, before closing out the set, after 32 minutes, with a love service hold.
Three consecutive double faults from Fognini gifted Gasquet an early lead in the second set and, despite surrendering the break in the following game, the Frenchman soon re-established his advantage with strong defensive skills from the backhand corner.
"[After the second set], I was thinking, 'There is only one set left'," said Fognini. "I tried to push myself one more time to bring more good tennis and play aggressively. I think that was the key of the match, starting really solid and really aggressively at the beginning of the third set."
Consistent backhand aggression earned Fognini an immediate break of serve in the deciding set and with increased confidence in his service games, the Italian soon moved towards victory. After wearing his opponent down, in an extended rally, to earn a second break, Fognini converted his fourth championship point as Gasquet fired an aggressive forehand beyond the baseline.
Fognini receives 250 ATP Ranking points and collects €89,435 in prize money for lifting the trophy. Gasquet gains 150 points and receives €47,105.
Did You Know?
With 31 tour-level match wins already this season, Fabio Fognini is just five victories short of equalling his 2017 match-win total. The Italian ended his 2017 campaign with 36-23 tour-level record.