Rafael Nadal suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Fabio Fognini in the Monte-Carlo Masters semi-final on Saturday.
For a player to have coming into the match with a 50-2 win-loss record on clay and having not lost a set as far as one could cast one’s mind, a semi-final loss to the 13th seeded Italian was shock enough. But for Nadal to not win a set and nearly get bagelled in the second set was something that would have left fans all over the world shaking their heads in collective disbelief.
Fabio Fognini takes the first set against Rafael Nadal.
It’s the first time since 2017 that Nadal has dropped a set at the Monte Carlo Masters. pic.twitter.com/ygjZh4rqjR
— bet365 (@bet365) April 20, 2019
In fact, Fognini had match-points on his own serve to win the second set – and with it, the match – 6-0 – but Nadal fought back to break the Italian and registered something on the scoreboard. The Spaniard then held serve to raise hopes of a comeback but Fognini held to 15 to complete a 6-4, 6-2 win over the world number two.
Interestingly, Nadal’s first serve percentage was a high 72% as compared to Fognini’s 49%, but the Italian outdid his opponent with 63% points won on first serve to his opponent’s mere 44%. Even the second serve win percentage was way lower for Nadal, 44% for him as opposed to 56% for the Italian.
The 13th seed also outdid Nadal on returns, winning 34 points to the Spaniard’s 21. And in defeating Nadal, Fognini joined an elite list of just three other players to have defeated Nadal thrice, one that consists of Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Gaston Gaudio.
Fognini had earlier made it to the semi-final with wins against Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric, both heavy favourites to defeat him in their matches.
In the Monte-Carlo Masters final, Fognini will take on another surprise entrant, Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. Lajovic shocked Daniil Medvedev in another straight-set win after the 10th seeded Russian had earlier sent out Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final.