Fabio Fognini ended Rafael Nadal’s long winning streak at the Monte Carlo Masters, stunning the defending champion to reach the final for the first time.
The 13th-seeded Italian, Fabio Fognini, had beaten Nadal twice before on clay, and also once at the U.S. Open in five sets, but this was arguably the most impressive.
Rafael Nadal after the game admitted his 6-4, 6-2 loss was his “worst clay court match in 14 years”. The shock result leaves Italian 13th seed Fognini facing unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic in Sunday’s unscripted final. Nadal said;
“I played one of my worst matches on clay in 14 years, it’s difficult to find any positives – I deserved to lose.”
“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.
“I played a very bad match against a good player. In that situation, you have to lose.
“I had a bad feeling, it was a tough day. I’m coming from low moments in terms of injuries, and in terms of the mental side it has not been easy to accept all the things that have been going on during recent weeks.
“Everything was wrong. I always expect the best. But you have to be ready to accept the negative things and today was a negative day.”
31-year-old Fognini, based just over the border in San Remo, said after the game;
“I had a really good week, did some good work,”
“I was born near here, I know how to play on clay. This will be the final that no-one expected, I just hope to recover well and be ready.
“Plus Lajovic is trained by my ex-coach — we laughed about that in the locker room.”