I moved back to court 6 to see Michael Russel and Fabio Fognini, where spectators in the back row were standing backwards on their chairs to watch the packed Schiavone court. 33 year old Russell is showing no signs of slowing down, winning three testing qualifying matches already this week. He started the stronger, which was to be expected given he had already adapted to the conditions, winning the first set 6-2.
Fognini breaks at 1-1 2nd set with a backhand lob but then looks to be is discomfort during the next game. He calls the trainer but receives hostility from the umpire who reveals he can speak Italian and had caught Fognini mouthing off his home language. Despite his injury, Fognini wins the next two games and goes ahead 4*-1. Fognini has both feet treated (I think the problem was blisters) part of which is shown in the middle of the video below (taken by me).
Fognini's rally shot was slower but boy could he unleash some power and did so regularly and surprisingly accurately. That, combined with Russell not being able to hit the backside of a barn, lead to a blowout 2-6 6-2 5*-0 scoreline. At this point Russell calls the trainer, because that is what will save him from three breaks down in the decider. The trainer comes, Russell indicates his right (hitting) arm is sore but no treatment is administered.
Quite an entertaining set. Russell serving at 87% loses it 6-0, bouncing a racquet or two along the way. Fognini was colourful, hitting many winners and either smiling or grimacing a lot. Last year's surprise Roland Garros quarter-finalist saved a big grin post match for some of his more vocal Italian fans.