It was Mayer’s first final on the ATP tour and it was the first time in three years that an Argentine had not won the title as the underdog failed to upset the top seed. Horacio Zeballos won in Vina del Mar in 2013 and Juan Monaco clinched victory the year before in 2012. But all credit must be paid to Fognini who proved too dominant on his preferred surface.
"This was another important week for me," Fognini said after the victory.
"I was coming from reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open after overcoming an injury I had earlier in the year. I couldn’t ask for a better start of the season. It’s the third title, it’s important, and now I go to Buenos Aires with a lot of confidence,” he continued.
The 26-year-old had little trouble overcoming the unseeded Mayer in only one hour and 23 minutes in the final. Fognini was brutally dominant on serve as he won 84 per cent of total service points and did not face a single break point.
Perhaps it was the nerves of playing in his first final that hindered Mayer, or perhaps it was just a sheer display of dominance from the Italian as he rushed to a 4-0 lead in the opening set. Mayer was never able to recover as he did not win a single point off the Fognini serve in the opener. He was able to hold serve twice, but ultimately lost the first set 2-6.
"I didn’t play that well today and he played incredible," Mayer said. “I was sick in the morning, I almost didn’t play, but later the doctors and I decided that I could play," he continued.
The World No. 31 managed to hold serve in the opening game of the second set before finally he managed to win his first point off the Fognini serve in the subsequent service game. But if there was any excitement, it was short-lived as the World No. 14 raced ahead to a 2-1 lead, breaking Mayer yet again.
Fabio Fognini (MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
The match quickly ran away from the Argentine and he soon found himself trailing 3-5 and serving to stay in the match. Fognini had multiple championship point opportunities in that game but he failed to capitalise as Mayer went on to hold serve, thereby forcing the Italian to serve it out.
He saved another couple of match points, but it proved to be too little too late for Mayer who eventually succumbed 6-2, 6-4. It took four prior opportunities to seal the title, but on Fognini’s fifth match point opportunity Mayer hit a backhand long and the delighted Italian dropped to the ground and kissed the court in celebration.
Fognini earned $77,315 in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP rankings points with the victory, which further cemented him in the World’s Top 15. Remarkably all of the titles that Fognini has won in his career have been on the clay surface and it is likely the 26-year-old will return to the first tournament of the Golden Swing in 2015.
The 22nd edition of the ATP Royal Guard Open in Vina del Mar, Chile will take place between 2 February – 9 February 2015.