Published: Sun, April 21, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal loses to Fabio Fognini in semi-finals

Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal loses to Fabio Fognini in semi-finals

He finally bowed out on the fourth match point, having saved three of these while 5-0 down in the second set and - having fended off the prospect of a rare bagel - Nadal recovered to 5-2, but his opponent closed out at the next serving opportunity.

Nadal has now won 25 consecutive sets on Court Rainier III since dropping one in his opening match in 2017 to Briton Kyle Edmund.

Before going onto court for his quarterfinal, Nadal spent some time watching Djokovic.

The last time Nadal failed to reach the last four here was in 2014, when he lost to countryman David Ferrer in the last eight. Noise levels off the charts as Fognini defeats Nadal...

Fognini was backed by good support - the tournament is relatively close to the Italian border - and while the win sent Fognini to his first ATP Masters 1000 final, the win also saw him become the first Italian to go the distance in Monte Carlo since Corrado Barazzutti in 1977. It's kind of tough to find the rhythm, and he doesn't give you much rhythm. "He was very patient and played well tactically".

"I played one of my worst matches in 14 years", Nadal said.

The roller coaster match on Friday tested Nadal both mentally and physically, but his eventual victory after two hours and 20 minutes ensured his bid for an unprecedented 12th title in Monaco continues unabated.

The Serb double-faulted at 30-30 to give Medvedev his first match point and a backhand victor secured a first win against Djokovic at the fourth attempt, and a first victory against a world No.1.

He now faces Dusan Lajovic who will fancy his chances given he is yet to drop a set in Monte Carlo after a stunning campaign.

But Djokovic has now failed to reach the last four in three straight tournaments, after also falling short at Indian Wells and Miami.

"The vision is clear", added 32-year-old Nadal who was playing his first tournament in a month after opting to rest his troublesome knees.

Rafael Nadal had to battle to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th time on Friday as he beat Guido Pella of Argentina 7-6 (7/1), 6-3. It's expected in a way for me to peak right at that tournament because that's what I'm aiming for.

Playing spectacular tennis, Fognini was in full flow and he hit a delightful two-handed, backhand cross-court victor to break at the start of the second set.

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