Following an interesting night in Rio de Janeiro, top seed and undefeated champion Rafael Nadal will contest a semi-final match-up against Fabio Fognini – one that will bring him one step closer to defending the clay court title. Nadal remains undefeated against Fognini, as he holds a 4-0 head to head record against the Italian, including a recent win at the Miami Masters in 2014.
Undoubtedly the most surprising moment of the day was when Cuevas found himself a set up against the ‘King of Clay,’ and in the running for a big upset victory. However, Nadal weathered the storm and eventually found his opportunity to pounce and force a deciding set. There, he took complete control and bageled Cuevas en route to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 win at nearly 3am local time.
“It was a complicated time at the beginning, but in the second set I felt better. I felt better control in the match even though I could not break him until 6-5. I’m happy because this was an important victory for me, to be able to be in a semi-final. It’s a great result, it gives me points, confidence and the opportunity to play tomorrow. I hope I’m recovered.”
Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini took part in a contest that lasted well over three hours to advance to the semi-final round of the Rio Open. He defeated Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-7(10), 7-6(9) in a tight match that featured many enthralling match points before he eventually clinched it on the ninth attempt.
“It’s always a tough match against Federico, and this was a crazy match,” he said. “Now I’m happy, and all I want to do is rest well.”
This marks the fifth time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Nadal leading the series with an undefeated 4-0 record. Fognini has only ever won one set against the Spaniard, and that was on hard court. Nadal is a far different beat on clay and should win the contest in straight sets.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets