Saturday, May 12, 2007

Gonzalez Ends Volandri's Dream

by Craig Hickman

No. 6 seed Fernando Gonazalez humbled Italian wildcard and hopeful Filippo Volandri, 6-1, 6-2, today at the Foro Italico.

The Chilean, who has struggled to find the form that took him to the Melbourne finals in Jaunary, had no such trouble today. He never allowed Volandri to dictate the match with his deep, angled shots from the baseline. Gonzo kept the Italian off balance with short backhand slices and dropshots that drew Pippo into the forecourt against his terms and never allowed the homeboy to find his rhythm. And whenever Gonzo wanted to punish a forehand, he didn't miss.

Since Melboure, Fena hasn't been past the quarterfinals of his next 5 events, losing his opening match in the last two. But somewhere in Rome, he's gotten back on track. None of his matches have been televised in their entirety, so it's hard to know when he turned it around. But his performance against Volandri today was a masterclass reminiscent of his remarkable play Down Under.

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