The world No 13 from Italy was docked a point in his match against Peter Gojowczyk from Germany for throwing his racquet into the ground for the second time.
It was a thrilling contest, which Fognini won 6-2 3-6 7-6 in two hours four minutes.
Fognini was given a code violation warning for the first throw of the racquet, and the second came just after he’d lost a game to Gojowczyk. It meant that he started the next game down 0-15.
Later in the match Fognini nearly hit a ball kid when he whacked the ball into a sign near the net and he continued to struggle to control his emotions.
However, knowing that for his next code violation he’d be docked a game, the 31-year-old, who’s regarded as one of the most expressive players on the circuit, managed to keep a firm grip to his racquet as he eventually won the tiebreak 7-5.
Asked how he felt about the code violation, Fognini simply said “nothing” but was relieved to get through his first match of the year.
“When you go on court you try to do your best and of course, if I’m not winning I’m not happy,” he said. “I tried to do my best. I knew he was a tough opponent, I beat him in Rome once and he beat me before (in Geneva).
“Now I’m looking forward to recovering well, because I’m really tired at the moment, and trying to do my best tomorrow [against] another great player with a lot of experience.
Fognini will meet another German, Philipp Kohlschreiber, in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Hopefully for his sake, a similar incident does not occur during Australian Open 2019.