Rafael Nadal joins Richard Gasquet in the 3rd round of the US Open after his victory over Fabio Fognini

Home » Rafael Nadal joins Richard Gasquet in the 3rd round of the US Open after his victory over Fabio Fognini
Rafael Nadal joins Richard Gasquet in the 3rd round of the US Open after his victory over Fabio Fognini

This one, we will forget it quite quickly, without even storing it in the memory box. Wednesday, in night session, the 18th confrontation between Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini did not raise the crowds at all and the Spaniard finally emerged victorious from a match in which he wandered more than an hour and a half and two whole sets, pocketing the second set miraculously, and because the Italian was kind enough to give it to him.

Upon arrival, Nadal won in four sets (2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1) and we will therefore be entitled to the 18th opposition, there too, between the Majorcan and Richard Gasquet at the 3rd round, 72 years between them and children of the same first ball. This upcoming meeting is the only good news to remember from this evening. Because as far as the match is concerned, there is not much to come out of it, fors a host of questions about the performance of the world n°3, and particularly his lackluster start to the match, and the 97 cumulative unforced errors (60 for Fognini, 37 for Nadal)!

Unrecognizable for two sets, at the lowest in the engagement, unable to get a straight shot from his racket, Nadal drew, struggled, tossed around the whole first round by a Fabio Fognini who was then in the right tone.

A second set miraculously won by Nadal

Unfortunately for the Italian, it didn’t last long. After this well-sewn first set, Fognini let go in the second. Nadal was still not more aggressive. Without rhythm and without aggressiveness, the icon with 22 Grand Slams was content to float from the baseline.

Fognini, who had knocked him down in five sets here, in the 3rd round of the 2015 US Open, then had him in his grip. But when Nadal gave up his face-off three times in a row in the second set, Fognini gave him his to compensate! Everything seemed too easy for the Italian, who then did not put much, either, in his game, but still led 4-2, before thwarting completely, committing 23 unforced errors out of the 33 points scored by Nadal in this second act, which the Spaniard miraculously won by having managed… 3 winning moves in the set.

A racket hit in the nose

Saved in extremis from drowning, Nadal gave himself up a little more in the third set. The third game even sounded like a blessing when the Spaniard unsheathed an ace from 122 miles and his first long-line forehand winner of the match! It was not yet great Nadal, but the Spaniard was finally more compact, more aggressive and less fluffy in the exchange. And that was more than enough to dominate a Fognini who was already not there anymore.

The Spaniard was however going to experience one last fright. At 3-0 in his favor in the fourth set, while Fognini had almost already packed his bag, Nadal opened his nose with his racquet, which bounced on the ground after an unbalanced backhand, before hitting him in the nose! Well cut, he had to be treated, lying on the ground for a few minutes. Although he lost the first five points on the restart, he did not let go of the controls and sealed a victory in four sets which, in the end, surely brought him more questions than answers, before challenging Richard Gasquet in the next round.


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