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Nadal vs Fognini ATP Montreal Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can Nadal avenge Monte Carlo defeat to Fognini?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 9 Aug 2019
  • Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini is live from Montreal on Friday, 9 August from 6:30pm local time/ 11:30pm BST
  • Nadal leads the head-to-head 11-4
Rafael Nadal (PA Sport)

Defending champion, Rafael Nadal and mercurial Italian, Fabio Fognini go head-to-head in Montreal on Friday, as they battle for a spot in the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup.

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Nadal is coming off another record breaking win in his quarter final against Guido Pella- the 6-3 6-4 victory giving the Spaniard his 379th Masters 1000 victory, breaking a tie he previously shared with great rival, Roger Federer. 

Playing his first tournament since a semi-final run at Wimbledon, and a first on hard courts since withdrawing from Indian Wells with a knee injury, Nadal looked rusty in his Montreal opener against British qualifier, Daniel Evans, recovering from a break down in the first set, and from 2-5 down in the opening set tie break to score a 7-6 6-4 victory.

The Spaniard was a lot more convincing in the Round of 16 against Pella, dismissing the Argentine in windy conditions to improve to 4-0 against the left-hander. The four-time Rogers Cup champion was quick to stamp his mark on the contest, rushing out to a 3-0 lead, and going on to establish a set and a break lead. Pella broke back for 3-3 in the second set, but Nadal went to work again, winning three of the next four games to close out the win on his fourth match point. 

Nadal improves to 38-6 for the season, with titles in Rome and Roland Garros already in the bag. He reached the final of the Australian Open at the start of the year (lost to Novak Djokovic), before falling to Nick Kyrgios in an acrimonious second-round clash in Acapulco. The 18-time major champion then reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells, but a knee injury forced his withdrawal from a scheduled semi-final meeting with Roger Federer, and he wouldn't play again until the clay-court season.

By his super-human standards, three consecutive semi-final defeats on the clay of Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid represented something of a mini-crisis, but the Spanish great closed out the clay season with aplomb, winning in Rome and Roland Garros. That was followed by his semi-final at Wimbledon, and here he is in Canada, battling for a fifth title, and a record extending 35th Masters 1000 title.

Nadal must reach the final in Montreal to hold on to his world No. 2 ranking, with Federer closing in, and he will look to take another step towards the title when he plays Fognini in the quarter finals on Friday.

Fognini has flown under the radar to reach the Montreal quarter finals, beating Tommy Paul and Adrian Mannarino to reach the Rogers Cup quarter finals for first time in his career.

The Italian reached the third round in his first ever appearance in 2007, but he failed to cross the second round in his next eight visits. He was in some early trouble in his 2019 Rogers Cup opener against Paul as he trailed 3-5 in the first set, but the seventh seed climbed out of that hole, saving three set points before going on to win 7-6 6-3. He had a better start in his next match against Mannarino, breaking twice to take the opening set, but the second set was more complicated, as he twice let a break lead slip, before closing out a 6-2 7-5 victory.

Fognini is into his fifth quarter final of the season, majority of them coming in the latter part of the opening half of the year. The Italian was extremely slow off the blocks, and was 4-8 for the season heading into the Monte Carlo Masters, but out of the blue, he launched a stunning title run in Monte Carlo, outclassing Nadal in the semi-finals before beating Dusan Lajovic in the final to win his maiden Masters 1000 title. The 32-year-old finished off the clay season by reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros, a result which took him into the top-ten for the first time.

He went on to reach the third round at Wimbledon, and has now made three straight quarter finals, adding to his efforts in Hamburg and Los Cabos last week.

Can the Italian reach just his second semi-final of the season, and his fifth semi-final at Masters 1000 level by taking down Nadal on Friday?

Fognini has four wins over Nadal, including one on hard courts, at the 2014 US Open when he came back from two sets down to upset the Spaniard, and the Spaniard is well aware of the danger that lies ahead. 

“He's having a great season, one of the best of his career, if not the best,” Nadal said. “I need to be playing well. I think today I played better than yesterday, so I hope tomorrow I continue with this improvement. That's what I need if I want to keep having chances to be through.”

When Fognini is in the mood, his mercurial shot-making, and ability to crunch winners from anywhere can be problematic for Nadal, but Nadal does own an 11-4 record over the Italian, and if the defending champion plays at a high level, and stays aggressive, he should move into the semi-finals.

Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini is live from Montreal on Friday, 9 August from 6:30pm local time/ 11:30pm BST

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Nadal vs Fognini ATP Montreal Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can Nadal avenge Monte Carlo defeat to Fognini?

World No. 2, Rafael Nadal continues his Montreal title defence on Friday as he takes on mercurial Italian, Fabio Fognini in the quarter finals. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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