Saturday’s wager at the German Tennis Championships proved to be another winner as Fabio Fognini took down Nico Almagro in straight sets in Hamburg. Fogna will face first time ATP Tour finalist Federico Delbonis in today’s championship match, the latter having defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to make the final having come through qualifying.
It’s fair to say that this is not the final that most would have predicted pre-tournament, but it’s the second in two weeks for Fognini, who is finally beginning to turn some of his talent into actual results after what seems an age of inconsistency and poor attitude.
The Italian produced another fine performance to beat Almagro and he is a warm favourite at 1.35 to land his first ATP 500 title, one week after winning his first ATP 250 title in Stuttgart.
Delbonis is playing his first final at tour level and both players must be feeling it a bit after plenty of tennis over the last fortnight. The Argentine is playing his eighth match of this tournament today, while Fogna is playing his tenth in two weeks.
They’ve met once before, on the quicker clay of Madrid in 2011. Though Delbonis won that one it holds little relevance to today with both men in top form and playing with great confidence.
Delbonis scored his first ever win over a top 10 opponent in beating an on-the-slide Federer yesterday and although most of the headlines will be about Fed, the world wumber 114 (he’ll rise to at least 64 tomorrow) was the deserved winner.
The layers have made Fognini a little short today at 1.35, but a lot will depend on how Delbonis’ nerve holds up in his first tour level final and upon how Fognini reacts to being favourite in a big match.
Fogna’s record against lefties is not bad lately, with only two losses against Rafa Nadal and a defeat to Jurgen Melzer at Wimbledon from his last eight matches. I want to back Fognini for this, so I’ll side with the -3.5 games on the handicap at around 1.95.
Best bet: Back Fognini -3.5 games to beat Delbonis at 1.95