Photo: Susan Mullane/camerawork usa
Canadian Vasek Pospisil put on a great performance in the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday night, defeating no. 28 Fabio Fognini of Italy in five sets of 2-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(4). Pospisil, currently ranked no. 58 in the world, is making his 11th appearance in New York.
Even though the challenge would be tough for him, Pospisil was confident in his chances, as he entered the match with a 2-1 record against the Italian. The native of Vernon, British Columbia won their last meeting at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals. He was ranked no. 150 in the world at the time and won in two sets of 7-6(5) and 7-5, even though Fognini was the favourite in the match thanks to his world no. 12 ranking.
From the start of the match, the Italian was dominant, quickly taking a 4-0 lead before closing out the first set in 27 minutes. Fognini continued his momentum in the second frame, facing only one break point before taking the set 6-3 and securing a commanding lead.
But the Canadian had not said his final word. Pospisil broke Fognini right out of the gate and seemed to find new energy in the third set. With only three unforced errors, he finally managed to orchestrate his first offensive push, winning four straight games. The result: a 6-1 third set score in his favour.
Propelled by his success, Pospisil kept up the pace in the fourth set. Relying on his serve (7 aces and a 68% success rate on his first serve), he once again stood up to the Italian, winning 6-3 to force a final set.
And fans looking for more excitement and thrills got their money’s worth in set five. After conceding a 4-1 lead to his opponent, Pospisil showed exceptional resilience to win the next three games and even things up. Fognini was visibly frustrated and broke his racquet during the Pospisil’s fruitful stretch, having no answer for the Canadian’s explosive play. Pospisil finally managed to do the impossible a few minutes later, winning the breathtaking set in a tiebreak by a score of 7-6(4) to complete the improbable comeback from two sets down.
The Canadian’s upset sends him to the second round of the U.S. Open for the fourth year in a row. He continues to surprise on American soil, having achieved the best result of his career at Flushing Meadows in 2020. Pospisil, ranked no. 94 in the world at the time, reached the Round of 16 after eliminating compatriot Milos Raonic (18th) and steady Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut (11th) en route.
Pospisil will next face Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.