Fabio Fognini ousts defending champion Rafael Nadal in Rio Open
Rio De Janiero, Feb 22 (IANS)
Rafael Nadal of Spain crashed out of the Rio Open after losing 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 to Italian Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals. Fognini will clash with David Ferrer, winning against Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer in the other semi-final, for the title, Xinhua reported Saturday
Nadal, who failed to reach the final in all three tournaments he has taken part in this year, will play next week in Buenos Aires.
The Italian bounced back brilliantly after losing the first set. He started playing aggressive tennis to unsettle his seasoned opponent. Fognini said he was "super happy" after ousting the "best (player) on this surface".
"I don't have words to describe this moment. It's the best match I have won so far in my career. 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.”
You can watch the match point here:
Nadal's compatriot Ferrer secured his berth in Sunday's final by eliminating Haider-Maurer 7-5, 6-1. Ferrer has won all seven previous encounters against Fognini.
In the women's category, top-seeded Sara Errani and sixth seed Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia will vie for the top prize.
While Errani clean swept Sweden's Johanna Larsson 7-5, 6-3, Schmiedlova fought bravely for a three-set 6-3, 4-6 and 6-2 victory over second seed Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania.