While Rafael Nadal continuously informed fans and media that he is yet to regain his top form following a plague of injuries last season, the truth behind his words dimmed away as he continued to perform at the 2015 Rio Open.
Nadal earned several straight set wins, and rallied back from his most recent victory over Pablo Cuevas to reach the semi-final stage of the tournament. However, that was not enough to stop the stunning result that would take place on Saturday evening in the Brazilian city, as Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini overturned a 0-4 losing record to Nadal in the head-to-head series to defeat the world No. 3 in three sets.
Fognini rallied back from a set down to defeat the Spaniard 1-6, 6-2, 7-5, thus putting an end to Nadal’s remarkable 52-match win streak in ATP World Tour level semi-finals on clay.
According to the ATP World Tour, it was Nadal’s 25th loss on the red surface.
“I’m really happy about this match,” said Fognini. “I beat the best player on this surface.
“Rafa is always difficult. From the second set I played really well, and I tried to change a little bit to be more positive on court.”
Fognini is now through to his ninth ATP final after picking up his first ever Top 5 win. He is set to face Ferrer in the final.
“Right now I’m thinking in the now; that I’ve beaten Rafa,” said Fognini. “I’m super happy, and obviously tomorrow I will have to battle David, who has always beaten me… I will obviously be happy if I win. If I lose, I will also leave with the good memories from this week in Rio.”