Thomas Fabbiano is enjoying a great season on the ATP Challenger circuit and has already picked up three titles this year. On Sunday he will go for a sixth career title and a first on grass at the Aegon Open in Nottingham.
In his semifinal match the fourth seed took down qualifier Sam Groth in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and was pleased with his performance. The Italian said: “It was a good match, I was expecting it to be tougher but I managed to break him in the first game of each set and that was the key.
“I felt some tension in the middle games of the second set, but with the long rallies I managed to hang on and not lose my serve and continue with my game. I didn’t have many bad moments, I saved two break points, which was important for me in helping to win the second set.”
This was the first time that Fabbiano had faced the big serving Australian but he was not fazed by the power and picked his opportunities to cause damage. “If he finds the right spot close to the line then there’s nothing I can do, even if I was faster or taller I still would have no chance. The speed is amazing and so is the variety. I’m better on the return thought and I’m better in the rallies so I was just waiting for my moment and I got a few of them, which I took”, he said.
This is Fabbiano’s first time in Nottingham and he is enjoying the event and the warm weather. He said: “It’s a nice court, it seems the grass is a little bit thin, but it’s very nice to play in the sun and good to play in front of a big crowd in a big Challenger.”
The Italian is set to rise to a career high ranking and could break into the world’s top 85 following his run here this week. He told me that breaking back into the top 100 was always the first goal of the season and that he will set new targets following the final ahead of his upcoming tournaments. “Top 50 would be good but it’s nice that we are still in the middle of the year so my ranking can still grow”, he said.
“I wanted to play Queen’s but I am not able to as I’m in the final here so I’ll practice in Italy this week with my coach and an Academy player and then I will play Eastbourne qualies and then see what the cut will be for Wimbledon, because I am still out at the moment”, he added.
Fabbiano frustratingly missed out on making his first main draw appearance at SW19 last year after falling in the final round of qualifying to Marius Copil in straight sets, being put down as the first lucky loser if a player was to withdraw from The Championships. “I waited three or four days and it was disappointing, it was the first time in like 37 years that a lucky loser didn’t get into the main draw”, the Italian said. “Hopefully I can make it this year”, he added.
The fourth seed will face Dudi Sela in Sunday’s final following his victory over Copil due to retirement. The Israeli is a former champion here and won their only previous meeting in the semifinals of the Suzhou Challenger 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. Despite that Fabbiano is feeling confident but not putting pressure on himself to win the title. He said: “I will enjoy the victory today and I have no expectations for the final. I hope to play good tennis and if I do well I will win the match.”