Dream Debut: Berrettini/Fognini Triumph In St. Petersburg
In their maiden outing as a team, Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini capped a memorable week at the St. Petersburg Open with a 7-6(6), 7-6(4) victory over Roman Jebavy and Matwe Middelkoop on Sunday.
The Italian duo lifted their first team title after one hour and 39 minutes, winning 69 per cent of first-serve points to overcome the defending champions in straight sets. Berrettini and Fognini were forced to save set points in both sets, at 5-6 (40/40) in the opener and at 3-5 (30/40) in the second set, before successfully navigating two tie-breaks to confirm victory.
"It was really tough, for sure," Fognini said. "I'm really happy. I think it was a really great week for us, the first time that we played together. So it's good to leave St. Petersburg with the trophy."
Berrettini has now won two tour-level doubles crowns after earning his first tour-level doubles title at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad (w/Bracciali) in July. It is Fognini's fifth tour-level doubles trophy, ending a two-year championship drought since the 2016 Shenzhen Open.
With four service breaks in the opening six games and set-point opportunities missed by both teams, a tie-break was needed to decide the outcome of the opening set. The Italians opened up a 4/1 advantage in the set-decider and, despite failing to capitalise on two further set points at 6/4, moved one set ahead after converting their fourth opportunity.
After saving break point in the opening game of the second set, Jebavy and Middelkoop opened up a 2-0 lead with a fourth break of serve. The third seeds held two set points at 5-3 (40/30) to level the match, but consecutive errors at net rebalanced the scores.
A second tie-break was needed, and Berrettini and Fognini once again proved too strong. The Italians converted their first championship point, with a second straight big serve from Berrettini, to capture the title.
Jebavy and Middelkoop were bidding to lift their second straight St. Petersburg trophy after winning their only team title at the event last year. The third seeds also reached the championship match in Lyon this year (l. to Kyrgios/Sock).
Berrettini and Fognini receive 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and split $63,690 in prize money for lifting the trophy. Jebavy and Middelkoop gain 150 points and share $33,480.
"For me it was my first time here in Russia, so I really enjoyed it. It's really nice here," Berrettini said. "I enjoyed this week, and I hope to come back next year."
Did You Know?
No team has managed to win back-to-back St. Petersburg Open doubles titles since the tournament began in 1995.