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Nadal secures Rogers Cup semifinal spot with comeback win over Fognini in rain-hit Montreal quarterfinals

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 10 Aug 2019
  • Rafael Nadal reaches Rogers Cup semifinals with comeback victory over Fabio Fognini
  • Semifinal opponent undecided as rain postpones the last quarterfinal
Rafael Nadal celebrates victory over Fabio Fognini at the Rogers Cup (PA Sports)

Rafael Nadal secured a spot in the Rogers Cup semifinals with a comeback victory over Fabio Fognini.

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Defending champion Rafael Nadal came back from a set down against Fabio Fognini to reach the semifinals of the Rogers Cup - but his opponent on Saturday night is yet to be decided as rain postponed the last quarterfinal in Montreal.

Nadal reacts to an unforced error (PA Sports)
Nadal will face Roberto Bautista Agut or Gael Monfils in Saturday's semifinals after just two points of their quarterfinal were played on Friday before rain intervened. Bautista Agut and Monfils will resume their quarterfinal at 1pm local (6pm BST) with the winner returning to face Nadal in the semifinals at 8pm local (1am BST).

Nadal is the only member of the 'Big Three' playing in Montreal this week and saw second seed Dominic Thiem and former champion Alexander Zverev both slump to one-sided defeats by Medvedev and Khachanov respectively in the earlier quarterfinals on Friday.

But his own passage to the semifinals was far from straightforward as he lost the first set to Fognini 2-6 before having to battle back to win in three.

Fognini, who won his first Masters 1000 Series title in Monte Carlo in April, has proved problematic for Nadal before. Nadal has a dominant 12-4 record against the mercurial Italian, who cracked the top 10 for the first time earlier this year, but has lost to him three times on clay (including their most recent encounter in the semifinals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where Fognini stunned the 11-time champion) and once on American hard courts at the US Open back in 2015.

Fabio Fognini (PA Sports)
The oft-injured Fognini has not had great results since winning his maiden Masters 1000 Series title and narrowly escaped being broken in the early stages of the first set, but once he wriggled out of that service game with the aid of a well-timed Hawkeye challenge, he took advantage of an unusually error-strewn passage of play from Nadal to race to a 6-2 lead.

Once Nadal raised his level of play to something like its usual pitch, however, Fognini had little resistance to offer, fading physically down the stretch and looking barely fit to play by the end as he struggled with what seemed to be an ankle injury.

Nadal closed out the 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory in an hour and 53 minutes.

'It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me,' Nadal said. 'I have been playing better and better.'

'I lost [the first set] 6-2 with the feeling I was not playing bad, no negative feelings on the ball, just things [were] going too fast,' Nadal continued. 'Honestly, the beginning of the match [was] difficult because I [was] playing probably a little bit better than him, but then the score was against me. I felt that I had a big chance to be 3-0 for me. then it was 3-1 for him.'

Nadal, who owns a record 34 Masters 1000 Series titles, is into the semifinals of the Rogers Cup for the seventh time. It has been his most successful Masters 1000 Series event outside the trio played on clay - Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome - with four titles to his name over the years, including two when the tournament was played in Montreal.

The top seed will be the favourite whoever he plays - he has a 14-2 record against Gael Monfils and a 3-0 record vs Bautista Agut.

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Nadal secures Rogers Cup semifinal spot with comeback win over Fognini in rain-hit Montreal quarterfinals

Defending champion Rafael Nadal came back from a set down to beat Fabio Fognini in Montreal but his semifinal opponent is not yet decided as rain postponed the final Rogers Cup quarterfinal

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