The top seed has fallen at the men's tennis ASB Classic, after a dramatic second round match at Stanley St in Auckland today.

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez defied his age, an unforgiving schedule and a mid-match meltdown to upset the world No 12 Fabio Fognini in a compelling contest.

The 38-year-old came back from a set down to beat Fognini 3-6 6-4 6-3 in almost two hours.

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It was a remarkable effort from Lopez, the oldest man in the draw, given he was forced to play his first round match this morning, due to the rain delays on Tuesday.


Lopex spent nearly two hours on court to overcome compatriot Pablo Andujar in three sets, before taking on the Italian barely 90 minutes later.

But Lopez, while admitting he was feeling sore and tired at the start of the Fognini match, overall framed the extra time on court as a positive, given he hadn't played a competitive match in 2020 before today.

"I think this is very good to play against Fabio [and] it would have been much tougher to face Fabio without any match this year," said Lopez. "Of course it is not the best situation when you have to play two matches in the same day, but under the circumstances it was very helpful to be honest, to have a long match before playing this match."

Feliciano Lopez triumphed over Fabio Fognini. Photo / Photosport
Feliciano Lopez triumphed over Fabio Fognini. Photo / Photosport

After his first round match Lopez grabbed some food, had a quick chat with his coach then tried to rest, before taking on Fognini, who broke into the top 10 for the first time last year.

Fognini doesn't have a power game, but relies on great timing, impeccable touch and anticipation. Fognini landed 47 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, but that didn't seem to matter. He outfoxed Lopez, grabbing a break opportunity and then good enough to see it out.

A flashpoint came late in the set, when Lopez lost the plot over an umpire's blunder. Lopez made a late challenge, as a Fognini shot landed near his feet on the baseline. But the umpire thought Lopez wanted to refer his own subsequent shot, who sailed clearly wide.

"I wanted to challenge the ball on the baseline, not the one I hit so far out," said Lopez. "It doesn't make sense. I don't know why he gave me that ball.

"It was so far out, that ball ... I think he misunderstood my call.


"It was a mistake, everybody makes mistakes. There is no way I can challenge a ball that is so far out. If I challenge it is because the ball is close."

Feliciano Lopez reacts to match umpire Ahmed Abdel-Azim's decision in his match against Fabio Fognini. Photo / Photosport
Feliciano Lopez reacts to match umpire Ahmed Abdel-Azim's decision in his match against Fabio Fognini. Photo / Photosport

ATP Tour supervisor Gerry Armstrong visited Lopez in his chair, but the player took a while to settle.

"I was so mad at him for a while and I was trying to calm down," said Lopez. "But it is never easy and tough to handle."

But the Spaniard recovered, and worked his way back into the match.

"I had to be aggressive against a player like Fabio who is a better player than me from the baseline," said Lopez. "I don't want to play so much rallies. I was trying to serve and volley as much as I could."

That strategy worked. Lopez took the second set after a string of Fognini errors, then grabbed an early break in the third set to set up victory.

Later, Canadian Denis Shapovalov lived up to his billing in an entertaining clash against compatriot Vasik Pospisil.

Shapovalov had only one win here from two previous visits, and was flat in a first round exit last year.

But he was superb against Pospisil, especially with his return game, and won 6-4 7-6(2) in 111 minutes.

"I felt like the level was really high from both of us, and we were playing toe to toe every point so I'm really happy to get the win," said Shapovalov.

"He was serving really well but I was able to guess the right directions in the tie breaker. I had a great start in the tiebreaker and just kinda rolled with it."

Given his pedigree, the world No 13 is overdue a good run at the ASB Classic.

"It would mean a lot," admitted Shapovalov. "I'm coming here three years in a row now and not just because it is a nice tournament. I would love to go really deep and have a great run. I feel like I do have the game right now to do so."

Shapovalov mixed sweet and sour on serve, with 12 aces and six doubles faults, but was brilliant from the backhand wing and displayed astounding court coverage.

Sixth seed Hubert Hurkacz (Poland), Brit Kyle Edmund, young Frenchman Ugo Humbert and world No 24 Benoit Paire were among the others to advance.

Kiwi Artem Sitak and partner Divij Sharan (India) upset the No 1-seeded combination of Michael Venus and John Peers in their doubles clash.

They were down a break in both sets, but fought back impressively to win 7-6 (4) 7-6 (3).

"It's not easy to play Mike," said Sitak. "He's a top 10 player and it's very difficult to beat him all the time. This time we got through."

Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald (Austria) also advanced over the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini, after Fognini retired at the start of the second set with a back complaint.

Daniell and Oswald were leading 6-3 1-1 when Fognini, who had looked indifferent at times during the match, pulled the pin.