Alcaraz defeated Fabio to advance to ATP Rio Open quarterfinals.
Fognini lost the first set to the defending champion.
Before fighting back with a series of superb rallies.
In a thrilling match on Thursday, world number two Carlos Alcaraz defeated Italian Fabio Fognini, who was rated 86th, to advance to the ATP Rio Open quarterfinals.
After dropping the opening set, the 19-year-old Spanish sensation fought back and prevailed 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-4.
“It´s a challenge facing a player like Fabio. He´s a great player with a lot of talent,” Alcaraz said after the dramatic clay court duel.
“You never know what he might have in store for you.”
The 35-year-old veteran Fognini, who has won nine singles titles, lost the first set to the defending champion 3-0 before fighting back with a series of superb rallies.
When the score was tied at 5-5, he broke Alcaraz’s serve to win the set in a tiebreaker.
However, Alcaraz fought back in the second set, taking the lead 4-0, and maintained his momentum in the third set to win the match.
The stadium court crowd was energised by the exciting performance.
“You energized both Fabio and me from the start, thank you so much,” Alcaraz told the fans.
“We played a great match. I´m very happy I managed to win.”
On Friday, Alcaraz will compete against Dusan Lajovic in the quarterfinals. In a match between two Serbian players, the 80th-ranked Lajovic defeated the 57th-ranked Laslo Djere 6-2, 6-4.
Alcaraz is attempting to recapture the magic he created in Brazil last year after a four-month injury hiatus.
Afterwards, he won the Rio Open on his way to five victories, including the US Open, and became the youngest-ever world number one in the ATP rankings. However, due to injury issues, he has since lost that position to Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz won his tougher-than-expected, rain-delayed match against Mateus Alves of Brazil on Wednesday to begin his title defence in Rio.
He won his eighth ATP championship of his career at the Argentina Open last week, marking his 2023 debut.
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