Rafael Nadal overcomes Fabio Fognini in four sets in US Open second round.
Rafael Nadal overcomes Fabio Fognini in four sets in US Open second round. N.B.: This match is scheduled for two hours and 15 minutes.
After leading 4-zip through the first set and dominating the second – including a backhand winner on the 18th game to start the break in the third – Rafael Nadal was left to contemplate his fate and the possible impact of his defeat on the future of tennis.
The Spaniard saved four of seven break points in the 2-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory over the Italian qualifier, who won 28 of his first 36 games on the way to the final 16-year-old grand slam.
But even though Nadal, world number one for four years and already the longest serving man in the Open era, did not win his seventh US Open title, his year-long preparations for a possible 20th grand slam remained an emotional roller coaster.
After making his first grand slam finals appearance in Madrid, the 24-year-old Spaniard lost in New York to his old nemesis Andy Murray in the last 16 this time last year and had to rebuild his confidence in what would be his final major for a decade.
It is unclear whether his emotions will have been more subdued after his fifth-round victory over Fognini, a former number one ranked player who missed out on the same last year to Murray, or whether he is able to deal with his loss more calmly.
It was clear that the 30-year-old Fognini was not going to trouble Nadale, who, a year after he won the US Open, is still the best player in the world and the only major champion whose career was affected significantly by a hip injury.
Nadal, who lost in the fourth round in Madrid, is the first man since Stefan Edberg in 1987