Also in the doubles victory went to Italy. Fabio Fognini and Simone Botelli miraculously managed to get rid of six match points in a row. In the first set, the Italians came back from a 4-1 deficit to 4-4, but still had to allow a break, which left the first set 7-5 to Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara. In the second set it eventually came to a tiebreak, but to reach it Fognini and Bolelli had to work away two match points at a score of 5-6. They succeeded to do so, but then the fate of the Italians seemed to be sealed, because they lost 6 points in a row in that tie-break. Six match points for the English/Finnish duo, putting the title up for grabs. But the Italians did not give in and with the massive support of the frenzied crowd, they showed that they too could score one point after another in a row. The denouement of the match reached a climax that led to nerve-racking moments for everyone, and certainly also for Fognini’s wife, the highly successful former tennis player and US Open winner Flavia Panetta. Glasspool and Heliovaara seemed completely off track and Fognini in particular came loose at the net. What seemed almost impossible, Bolelli and Fognini managed to achieve: eight points in a row. With that it was 1-1 in sets and another tiebreak, now to ten points, had to be played to determine who could call themselves double champions of the Croatia Open 2022.
The Englishman and the Finn were not yet recovered from the shock and the Italians continue to make points. At a deficit of 7-1, there was a small rebound but it was no longer enough. To the astonishment and immense joy of the audience, the first-seeded Italian duo was the winner of the tournament (10-7). Fognini in particular can walk on the court as if it doesn’t interest him all that much, but it is clear from the enormous release when winning the first tie-break, for example, that this is only an illusion. Deep down, he is a hugely passionate tennis player with an iron will to win. Unfortunately, he sometimes loses himself on the court and again there was an incident. Less sympathetic was that this involved a ball girl who – completely by accident of course – dropped a ball. But at the same time, the following applies: never a dull moment with Fabio. In particular, he whipped up the crowd, creating a Davis-Cup-like atmosphere in the stadium and eventually the Italians took the win. It was striking that although their opponents missed a lot of points at the end of the game, they remained very correctly with a positive attitude, this while certainly not only Fognini and Bolelli were their opponents, but also the audience.
The euphoria on the Italian side, both among the audience and the players, was enormous. “This may be the craziest match ever,” said Bolelli. Fognini commend commented on the match points in the tie-break: Crazy, an incredible match. Six match points. Well, that’s tennis.” Fognini and Bolelli already won the double title in Umag. That was eleven years ago in 2011. Then they defeated the Croatian duo Marin Cilic and Lovro Zovko. Even then there had to be played a super tiebreak and even then they won it with 10-7, but eliminating six match points in a row (after having survived two match points earlier) was of course not an issue then.
Glasspool and Heliovaara had to play a tie-break twice in the tournament, including in the first round against the Dutch duo Sander Arends and David Pel. They were won, which in case of the first one meant the elimination of the Dutch duo. We have also included some photos from that match in an other item