Hometown win: Nakashima edges Fognini in 3 at San Diego Open
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hometown kid Brandon Nakashima came back after trailing by a set and then from a break down in the third to edge Fabio Fognini 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5 in the first round of the San Diego Open on Monday night.
The 20-year-old Nakashima, who is ranked a career-high No. 83 and was given a wild-card entry, was born in San Diego and still is based there. This was his first tour-level match in his home state and it came at a hard-court tournament that was created this year to help fill a gap in the ATP calendar created when the post-U.S. Open circuit in Asia was called off because of COVID-19 concerns.
Also Monday, Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev beat Federico Delbonis 6-1, 7-5, extending Delbonis’ losing streak on hard courts to 10 matches, while Taylor Fritz defeated qualifier Salvatore Caruso 6-4, 7-6 (2), the 11th tour-level loss in a row for Caruso on all surfaces.
After getting broken for the only time all match while falling behind 2-0 in the final set, Nakashima reeled off three games in a row thanks to a more aggressive style, including pushing forward to the net when there were openings.
He also was helped by some shaky serving by the the 34-year-old Fognini, a former Top 10 player now ranked 31st who double-faulted 11 times.
Nakashima, who beat John Isner in the first round of the U.S. Open last month, earned a total of 14 break points Monday, converting five.
He held a pair of match points at 5-4 in the third but didn’t come through either time. Nakashima did make his third chance count, though, breaking to end things when Fognini put a forehand into the net.
Next up for Nakashima will be top-seeded Andrey Rublev, who helped Team Europe win the Laver Cup over the weekend and was given a first-round bye in San Diego.
The 23-year-old Fritz, like Nakashima a Californian, will meet No. 4 seed Denis Shapovalov, a Wimbledon semifinalist this year, in the second round.
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