RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Fabio Fognini of Italy dropped his racket and still won the set point in the first round of the Rio Open on Monday.
Fognini, seeded fifth, was serving for the second set against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil when the racket slipped from his hand after serving. But it bounced back up off the clay, he snatched it, rallied with Bellucci and hit an overhead winner at the net to tie the score on sets.
Fognini, who had been down a set and 4-0, ultimately prevailed 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-2.
World No. 3 and top seed Marin Cilic of Croatia enjoyed less drama in his Rio Open debut beating Argentine qualifier Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-2.
This was Cilic’s first match since reaching the Australian Open final. He faces Gael Monfils or Horacio Zeballos next.
Fourth-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain overcame Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 after trailing 4-2 in the last set.
Eighth-seeded Fernando Verdasco also progressed.
Second seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria opens on Tuesday against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.