Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece came back from a set and a break down to hold off former world No. 9 Fabio Fognini of Italy in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday (IST).
The world No. 3 Tsitsipas was rattled early on against the 30th seed, but worked his way back into the match for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and four minutes. It set a fourth-round meeting with 22nd seed Alex de Minaur after the Australian’s 6-4, 6-2 win against 15th seed Cristian Garin of Chile.
Tsitsipas extended his ATP head-to-head record against the Italian to 3-0 as he finished with 21 winners — including 10 off the forehand — and 28 unforced errors. Fognini clocked 32 winners — 22 of those off his forehand — but committed 32 unforced errors.
“Great comeback, honestly I don’t know what happened,” Tsitsipas told atptour.com. “I really wanted to get back in the match and it happened somehow.
“From (a set and a break down) I just took it point by point and it worked out pretty well. A good mindset and also a bit of patience helped as well. I found solutions in those tough moments and really felt like I had momentum.”
Fognini set the tone early when he broke in the opening game and his sustained aggression had Tsitsipas unable to make any real inroads as the first set wore on. The Italian withstood a break point as he closed out the set.
The crowd rallied behind the second seed Greek when he broke for the first time to draw level in the second set and it marked a switch in momentum as Fognini’s error count grew. Tsitsipas carried the advantage to level the match at a set apiece and capitalised on a string of loose unforced errors from the Italian to land the crucial break for 3-2 in the deciding set and never looked back as he extended his tour-leading match wins this season to 53.
Taylor Fritz of the US earned his biggest win of the year, easing past Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round.
The California native, who was 2-6 in his past eight matches heading into Indian Wells, gained his first win against a top-10 opponent in 2021 and the seventh of his career in the 81-minute encounter.
“We’re coming to the end of the year, I could really use a big result,” said Fritz. “This is just what I needed, playing one of my favourite tournaments close to home.”
“I had a really clear strategy on top of just doing what I do,” said Fritz about his game against the world No. 7. “Big first serves, attacking the first ball, trying to be aggressive and play to my strengths to try and make him uncomfortable as much as I could.”