Fabio Fognini and Alex De Minaur went side by side to kick off this game at Margaret Court Arena. So things went steady between the two. Fognini was the first player to pull the lead away from De Minaur past the halfway mark. De Minaur did close the lead to Fognini 4-5.
But De Minaur just did not have enough time to sort out his conversion play. After a slow first half run where he would like to fix up after the break. As Fognini wins Stage 1 6-4. Nothing much has changed going into Stage 2. Where Fognini still just ahead of De Minaur in a bid to tie two straight mini wins. De Minaur on the other hand reported a lack of feel in the 1st & 2nd half play. And it has been a frustrating night so far for De Minaur. With Fognini once again firing on all corners for the Stage 2 win 6-3. The 33 year old Italian just needs one more stage win to set up a fourth round showdown.
Nothing much unfortunately changed without the control of De Minaur. When the Australian No.1 seed alone searched all night on ways to hold down Fognini. The solutions were not there when Fognini pulled off another big lead away off De Minaur. Progress at last was finally made when De Minaur began to fight back. Where Fognini made two double faults at the first match point attempt. As well as unable to get over the net during the 2nd time of asking. But it was still a big enough lead from Fognini to close out the win. The final score was done just over two hours of play at 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Bugger for De Minaur who tied his best result of Round 3 twice here from 2019 & 2021. There is fightback and courage at last. But just left it so late until the last minute. Where he was struggling with the fire off & conversion play mightly. And that kind of little to no momentum will leave him isolated. With time eventually ran out against him to repair the Stage 1 & 2 losses. De Minaur though should take those weaknesses & come back better next time.
While Fognini has dominated this game all night to connect the 1st & 2nd half performances. And marry up all three stage victories in straight sets. Where he turned this Round 3 tonight into his 4th round ticket. He will now meet Spainard Rafael Nadal who just beat Cameron Norrie from England. Norrie was originally from South Africa & used to fly with New Zealand colours. The other game scores are 7-5, 6-2 & 7-5. Well there is no Aussies now in the Men’s singles section now. But Ash Barty is still the lone Aussie in the women’s singles where she will face Shelby Rogers from USA.
Day 6 now done at the Australian Open and the first of the five days at least without fans. We are missing the fan crowd/atmosphere & the Jim Courier post-game interviews. Just like NASCAR on NBC refused to have a theme song last year with nobody. But the organisers have to follow the strict Government rules. So we do not get sick. We cannot wait for Day 7 though tomorrow on Valentines Day. Before the finals week begins in the next few days.