Ten years ago, Rafael Nadal had compiled a 50-1 record on clay, and a 26-0 record on that same surface the following year. Less than a decade later, he found himself facing an 11-3 record on the surface. Two of those losses, including his most recent one in the third round of the Barcelona Open, were to Fabio Fognini.
“Today is a bad day,” said Nadal following his straight sets loss to the Italian. “But my challenge is to get back to my best level again and I will work until that happens. I have the conviction that it will happen.”
Although Fognini won the match 6-4, 7-6(6), Nadal held a break lead in the second set and looked comfortable en route to a decider. Then, everything went wrong.
“It was a disaster today. Fabio played better than me and he deserved to win. I didn’t deserve to win. Until I sort out the ups and downs I’m suffering from this season, I will continue to be vulnerable,” added Nadal,”I spent last week in Monte-Carlo full of good moments. It was the best week of the year. But this one has been the opposite. It’s been a very negative week. I thought I would be able to find consistency, but it hasn’t happened.
Nadal saved three match points in the second set tiebreak but was simply unable to stop the Italian’s momentum.
“I think today I played really solid tennis,” said Fognini. “I was hitting the ball really well in both sets. The key of course was winning the second set. It would have been difficult playing him at one-set-all, especially the way I would have lost the second set, having had three match points.”