Self-effacing Italian Fabio Fognini won a battle of expectant fathers when he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4) 3-6 6-4 in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Saturday.
Unseeded Fognini survived a first set tiebreak and a tense final set before upsetting the seventh-seeded Frenchman in a match that stretched nearly two hours and 30 minutes in the blazing afternoon sun at Indian Wells.
“I am happy about my performance. It’s a good victory for sure,” Fognini told Tennis Channel after beating Tsonga for the first time in five career meetings.
“Today was really hot so the ball was bouncing a lot. I love playing with sun and good weather.”
Fognini, ranked 43rd, considered himself fortunate even to make it to the second round.
The Italian dropped the first set to love and was down 5-2 in the second set of his first-round encounter with Russian Konstantin Kravchuk, before roaring back to win 0-6 7-5 6-4.
“I was really luck first match for sure,” Fognini said. “It is a crazy sport.”
Fognini’s wife, 2015 U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta, is expecting a child in late May, while Tsonga is also expected to become a father next month.
In another upset on Saturday, Japanese world number 70 Yoshihito Nishioka beat Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 6-4 6-3, but seeded favorites Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Tomas Berdych won their respective matches.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)