Rafael Nadal: Fabio Fognini TAUNTS Spanish star with Monte Carlo Masters claim

Rafael Nada celebrates his victory. More
Rafael Nada celebrates his victory. More
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22 April, 2019

Among his victims this week was number three Alexander Zverev, and his stunning 6-4, 6-2 victory over Nadal on Saturday to end the Spanish star's 25-set win streak in the principality.

Nadal was close to losing his first set to love in Monte Carlo since the 2005 final, where he beat Guillermo Coria in four sets.

Nadal toiled away for two hours, 20 minutes to win for the 71st time in 75 matches at the tournament.

"If you told me at the beginning of the week 'See you on Sunday (for the final),' I would laugh in your face, " Fognini said.

"I had a bad feeling, it was a tough day".

The odds have been against Fognini for much of the Masters event; he has taken scalps against both Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric before producing one of the biggest surprises of the season so far by beating Nadal in straight sets.

The 31-year-old world number 18 has lost 11 of his 14 matches with Nadal but is one of only seven players to have beaten the Spaniard on clay on more than one occasion. "Problem sometimes is we are used to be very, very solid all the time, and even coming back from injuries, winning and winning and winning, and things are not easy, no?" he continued. "Today I deserved to lose because I played against a player that was better than me". "I had nothing to lose".

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"I had a really good week, did some good work", said the Italian.

"It was my first time in the finals, so a great experience for me".

He served for the match at 5-0 and 40-0, but Nadal saved three match points, broke back and held. Lajovic trailed 3-0 and 5-1 in the opening set before going through the gears. But looking at "average" levels of the two players over the last 12 months, there's not much between the two players, and therefore it is hard not to consider the [2.68] about the Serbian to get an unlikely (at the start of the week) first Masters title.

I like Fognini to win his first Masters 1000 title.

That match was also played in distracting, swirling conditions, with Lajovic making a recovery from 5-1 down after changing strategy when Medvedev had the upper hand. "It was the worst nightmare, being 5-1 down", Lajovic said.

Nadal was returning to action on the ATP Tour in Monte Carlo after having to withdraw from his semi-final against Roger Federer in Indian Wells midway through March due to a knee issue.


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