Simon Reed

Fognini’s demolition of Murray was one of top five performances I have witnessed

Simon Reed

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We all woke up on Sunday morning thinking that this could be a historic day for Great Britain with the team leading 2-1 Italy in the Davis Cup last eight.

We were all optimistic on Saturday night after we won the doubles to move ahead in Naples, but it was all a bit of a smokescreen in the end. Much of that down to the exceptional antics of Italian number one Fabio Fognini.

Fognini thought he could beat James Ward in his sleep and he seemed to drift in and out of the doubles on Saturday because I think he was preparing for Murray on Sunday.

He thought to himself: "Get me to Sunday, and let me face Murray - I'll beat him." He thought: "If I beat Ward and Murray, Seppi is going to beat Ward. Job done." And that is how it proved.

I don't think he was that interested in the doubles. He thought that was going to be a national hero by beating Murray. He did, but the way he achieved the feat was dramatically impressive.

It was one of the best five individual performances I've ever seen. It was staggeringly good on such a difficult, slow clay surface.

His footwork was just outrageous, and his shot-making was incredible. Forgetting that I am British, it was just a delight to see.

He lifted the Naples crowd, and the crowd lifted him. Murray hasn't been beaten up like that by a player outside of the top three or four for the past seven years.

For that to happen, was pretty extraordinary. Murray didn't play badly. Medically, he had a virus. But I don't think a fit Murray would have overcome a guy playing like that.

He was just outclassed by a bloke playing inspired tennis. Murray at his best on clay and taking the match away from Italy, would have given the Scot a 50-50 chance.

But the fact that Fognini was strutting his stuff, almost peacocking in front of his 6,000 admirers, made it a very difficult afternoon for Murray to handle.

From what we saw on Friday and Saturday, we could never have seen that coming.

Can he do that in the French Open? On that form, he is the dark form for Roland Garros.

But can he produce that form in Paris? It is a bit difference carrying that performance from Italy over to France when you don't have such a vociferous crowd behind you.

He was being sick on court because he was so wound up. The guy was inspired.

Murray wasn't at his very best, but he came up against a player in outrageous form.

It has been a great run for GB reaching the last eight for the first time since 1986. Murray tried his guts out, and gave his best out there. But he gave up on a big first serve because the surface was so slow.

He ended up bowling 80 percent second serves down the court.

I'd have loved to have seen Rafael Nadal face Fognini on form on clay in Italy yesterday.

Rafa is the only guy who could have lived with him. Federer and Djokovic would have got nowhere near him.

The only problem is that Fognini is a peacock. And the peacock delivers only seven times out of 10.

He probably won't win the French Open because I would question his mentality to go all the way, and the surface won't be as slow the one in Italy. But if he is 66-1 or 50-1, he is worth a shot.

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