Rafael Nadal calls loss to Fognini ‘one of my worst matches on clay in 14 years’
Rafael Nadal reflected on “one on the worst matches” he has played on clay in his career after crashing with a shock defeat by Fabio Fognini from the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Five weeks prior to French Open, the 11-times Monte Carlo champion was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by way of the flamboyant Italian and gave a blunt assessment of his performance after Fognini wrapped up victory in one hour and 36 minutes. Nadal said: “I played one among my worst matches on clay in 14 years. It is tough to discover any positives. I played a very bad game against a fantastic player, so in this particular situation it is important to lose.”
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Fognini’s win was increasingly remarkable given he entered the tournament in poor form together trailed his first-round opponent Andrey Rublev 6-4, 4-1 before rallying for victory. Nadal’s loss ended a run of 25 consecutive sets won on his favourite surface as Fognini create a final against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.
Fognini said: “If you explained to me at the outset of a few days Let me help on Sunday, I would personally have laughed inside your face. Sometimes I won some matches [against him] – one crazy one in the US Open as well as times on clay. So I knew I have nothing to lose, as a consequence of course, particularly when you with him on clay, it is really tough.”
In windy conditions on the Monte Carlo Country Club, Nadal was at a loss for Fognini, who entered centre court wonderful guns blazing. Fognini’s unpredictability, in addition within the climate, were eventually far too much for your Spanish world 2, who lost 11 of 14 games after going 3-1 up in the main set.
He finally bowed on the final match point, having saved three of those while 5-0 down inside the second set and – having fended off of the prospect of the rare bagel – Nadal recovered to 5-2, but his opponent closed out along at the next serving opportunity. It had become Fognini’s fourth career win against Nadal in 15 encounters, as well as the world number No 18’s another on clay.
Earlier, Lajovic reached his first ATP final by using a 7-5, 6-1 wow Novak Djokovic’s quarter-final conqueror, Daniil Medvedev. Lajovic trailed the Russian 3-0 and 5-1 from the opening set prior to going through the gears. The 10th-seeded Medvedev would not secure the pace and Lajovic quickly moved 4-0 in your second set against a frustrated opponent, who bowed out on the other match point.
“It was an amazing match today,” said Lajovic, the entire world No 48 and lowest-ranked player to attain a final since Hicham Arazi in 2001. “I had the worst nightmare, falling down 5-1. But I won 10 games successively, thus i was able to find my rhythm and my game.
“In windy conditions like today, it turned out impossible to experience real tennis and consequently I became in the position to hit my forehands as good as him. I’m still unaware of my achievement in Monte Carlo.”
Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares went out 7-6 (4), 6-4 to the Dutchmen Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof inside doubles semi-finals.