Fognini rallies past Delbonis in German final

Fabio Fognini of Italy. (Daniel Bockwoldt/AP)
July 21, 2013, 12:17 PM

HAMBURG, Germany — Fabio Fognini saved three match points before beating Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-2 Sunday to win the German Tennis Championships for his second title in two weeks.

The 12th-seeded Italian extended his winning run to 10 matches. He won his first career title last week in Stuttgart, Germany, also on clay.

Fognini trailed 4-1 in the second set after losing four straight games following a long discussion with officials over a warning. The Italian changed his racket after breaking a string, but took a long time going to the bench and was given a warning. He then engaged in a long argument with the chair umpire and tournament supervisor and was unable to keep his game together, still muttering during changeovers.

But Fognini finally settled down and rallied to level at 4-4. Delbonis squandered three match points in the tiebreaker on errors before Fognini converted his first set point.

Fognini quickly took control of the decisive set but failed to serve out the match at 5-1. Delbonis led 40-0 in the next but Fognini got back to deuce and won the match when Delbonis sent a forehand wide.

Fognini sank to his knees and pumped his fists, while a tired-looking Delbonis appeared dejected after losing his first career final.

Delbonis upset top-seeded Roger Federer in the semifinals, but the left-hander ran out of steam on a hot day. He began the week ranked No. 114 but is projected to rise to No. 62 when the new rankings come out Monday. Fognini is set to improve six spots to No. 19.

Fognini has 25 wins on clay this season, second only to Rafael Nadal’s 38.

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