Italian Fabio Fognini was defaulted from the Barcelona Open Tennis tournament during the second-round match against Bernabe Zapata Miralles over reports of verbally abusing a line judge. The 33-year-old, who is trailing world no.147 Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-0, 4-4 when he clashed with the official, is one of only a small number of players to have been defaulted from a match.
Although the television director did now show footage of the argument, the ninth seed was disqualified over the complaint with the chair umpire ruling it as unsportsmanlike. The Italian protested his innocence after the match, insisting he had been penalised for something he “didn’t do”. Register an account for more tennis predictions today and exciting rewards.
Fognini had been given a warning earlier in the match and later stormed off the court when the chair umpire informed him of the decision to default him. “I didn’t tell him anything,” Fognini shouted, breaking his racket at the net and throwing it away in frustration as he left the court. “What happened to me was inexplicable,” the world no. 27 told reporters. “I’m going to investigate it.”
Fognini is no stranger to being defaulted over reports of verbal abuse. At the 2017 US Open, he was forced to leave the tournament and fined $24,000 for a series of insults aimed at a female chair umpire. Earlier this year, Fognini and fellow Italian Salvatore Caruso had to be separated by the Australian Open supervisor during an ugly post-match argument, following Caruso’s thrilling five-set win.
The most recent incident of being defaulted in a tour involved world number one Novak Djokovic, who was disqualified from the 2020 US Open for hitting a line judge with a ball, while Nick Kyrgios was defaulted at the Rome tournament in 2019 after hurling a chair on to the court. Fognini’s latest incident has led to a chorus of criticism on social media.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal, who suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the hands of Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo Masters last week, survived an early test in his bid to win the Barcelona title for the 12th time when he defeat Belarus qualifier Ilya Ivashka 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was Nadal’s 62nd win in the tournament against just four defeats.
“He played well. He played at a very high level, and I didn’t, especially at the beginning,” said Nadal. “Then I think I changed a little bit the way I played. I was more aggressive later, and the match changed a lot. I’m happy I fought hard today to be in the third round. That’s what I needed after the loss at Monte Carlo.” Nadal will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori, 2014 and 2015 Barcelona champion, on Thursday.
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