Australian Bernard Tomic was once the new generation, with Nick Kyrgios, of Aussie tour-level rebels who drew weekly fines by doing and saying whatever they wanted — usually to the detriment of their games and tennis in general. Kyrgios cleaned up his act somewhat, but Tomic watched his ranking plummet with seemingly little regard.
On Sunday Tomic reemerged, as a qualifier saving a match point during the week and four more in the final to capture the ATP Chengdu Open title in China, in the final beating top seed and Top 15-ranked Fabio Fognini 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(7) for his first title in more than three years.
“I should have lost five times,” said Tomic, who was down 3-6 in the final-set tiebreak. “In the second round in qualifying to Gerasimov, I was down 0-40 at 4-4 in the third set and I somehow got through that match; against Klahn in the first round I was down 7-6, 3-1 and in the second round I was down a match point as well against Harris. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I played more aggressive in the quarterfinals and semifinals. I don’t know how many match points I saved today.”
His last title came at Bogota in 2015. Tomic’s fall from grace included an appearance on an Australian reality show set in the wilds where he bailed on the experience after a few days.
“For me to win here is huge, one of the biggest 250 tournaments in the world and it means that I’ll rise back up the ATP Rankings,” the Aussie said.
The 25-year-old stopped Fognini from winning a fourth 2018 title. He improved to 4-2 in career tour finals. Fognini dropped to 3-2 in finals this year alone and 8-10 career.
“It was my time to be unlucky today,” said Fognini. “I’ve had a great run this year. It was a great week, but for sure I’m sad I lost the final after I had four match points. Well done to him. I fought until the end.”
The 31-year-old Fognini has won this year at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad and a first hardcourt title at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos where he bested Juan Martin del Potro.
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