US Open: Fognini outshines Rafa, knocks him out

RSTV Bureau
New York: Rafael Nadal, of Spain, leaves the court after losing to Fabio Fognini, of Italy, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015.

New York: Rafael Nadal, of Spain, leaves the court after losing to Fabio Fognini, of Italy, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015.

Rafael Nadal has crashed out of the US Open 2015 in round 3. He was defeated by Italian Fabio Fognini.

Nadal lost to Fognini despite winning the first two sets. Nadal lost 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 in a brilliant comeback by the 32nd seeded Italian.

Eighth seeded Nadal appeared to be cruising through the match after he won the first two sets. But the Italian got the better of the Spaniard from the third set. Fognini played brilliantly. His groundstroke angles and deft play at the net won him 39 of 54 advances.

The final set produced spectacular rallies that enthralled the crowds at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Both players traded seven service breaks in a row from the third game of the fifth set before Fognini held his own to end the 3 hour 46 minute battle. The match finished way past midnight at 1:26 AM.

“The fifth set was really difficult for both sides, because when you go up a break against Rafa, you mind is starting to think too many things. So, happy about my performance, happy for the guys that supported me tonight and especially my corner,” said Fognini after his win.

“I can’t describe how happy I am…It was very tough. To do it against Rafa, two sets down. It was an incredible match,” added a jubilant Fognini.

Nadal who has won 14 grand slams in his career minced no words to praise his opponent.

“He played great…It was not a match that I lost, even if I had opportunities. It’s a match that he won. So accept. I’m not happy that he played better than me, but that’s what happened,” said Rafa after his win.

This is a third win for Fognini in his four encounters with Nadal in 2015.

The Italian will now face another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez in the next round.