On Friday night at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, Fabio Fognini of Italy came out like gangbusters in his match against Rafael Nadal.
In their 16th head-to-head, it looked like Fognini’s dominance in the first set (6-2) would carry him to his fifth win against the King of Clay and Saturday’s semifinal.
But that was without counting on Nadal’s resilience or the ailments that tend to plague Fognini.
The second and third sets tipped in the Spaniard’s favour, and he closed things out in nearly two hours (2-6, 6-1, 6-2).
Broken twice in the first set, Rafa regained control and then broke Fognini four times.
At the end of the second, Fognini called the trainer and then the physician to make sure he could keep playing without aggravating his ankle injury. Despite the go-ahead, he just couldn’t keep up. Nadal was solid on serve, hitting 88% of his first serves in, and racked up 76 points versus 61 for his opponent.