News ID: 215268
Published: 0127 GMT May 18, 2018

Nadal survives early scare to reach Rome semis

Nadal survives early scare to reach Rome semis
Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand shot against Italian Fabio Fognini at the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome on May 18, 2018.

World number two and a seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal stays on the course for the first title in the Italian capital since 2013, defeating the home favorite Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and 14 minutes for his 21st win of the season and the 10th semifinal at the Foro Italico, the first since 2014.

This was their 14th meeting and the 11th triumph for the Spaniard, also the sixth in a row since that heartbreaking loss at the US Open in 2015, reported.

Fabio had already beaten Nadal on clay and he made a great start on Friday, coming from a 4-1 down to win five games in a row and steal the opener but Nadal restored the order after that, dropping just seven points on serve in total in sets two and three and Fabio couldn't match those numbers, getting broken four times (twice in each set) to end his run in the quarterfinal, his first at this tournament.

Rafa finished the match with 16 winners and 19 unforced errors while Fabio lost the ground after the opener, hitting 29 winners but also 39 mistakes, losing touch with his mighty opponent in the shortest and mid-range rallies.

It was a solid performance from Nadal on serve, facing five break points and losing serve twice in the opening set before he raised his level to sail through the rest of the match, hitting with power and precision from his forehand and defending backhand in a proper way after a shaky start.

On the other hand, Fabio lost almost 50 percent of the points behind his initial shot, taking just four out of 17 points on his second serve after the opening set and dropping serve five times from seven chances Rafa created.


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