Rafael Nadal overcomes Fabio Fognini in four sets in US Open second round
Rafael Nadal took over 3 hours, 43 minutes to beat Fabio Fognini in their second set. Photo / Getty Images / Nuccio DiNuzzo
FANCY-BALLS | Rafael Nadal cruised past Fabio Fognini in his first-round match at the US Open on Monday and will now face the Spaniard’s Italian compatriot Andrea Petkovic in the second day.
It was a tight four-setter which lasted under three hours and a minute as Fognini was the first to slip up a break in the third game. Nadal won the first set 6-3 and then took the match in four sets, but the tiebreak after the third game were all won by Nadal.
Nadal has a chance to end up on the world No 1 list, but he may struggle against Petkovic on Saturday after the Serbian broke him in the opening game and then levelled at 3-3 in the second game.
Petkovic, who has won both singles matches, has a five-match winning streak in the US Open but he is yet to win a singles match on clay in his previous eight appearances. Nadal won there last year, the first French Open he won in 12 attempts, before losing to Fognini in the final earlier this month.
Fognini, seeded 16th after beating Nick Kyrgios to move 12-11, will play Canadian Denis David in the second round. David came to the top 10 after beating fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the third round. Fognini has lost his last three matches against David.
Nadal is making his first appearance at Flushing Meadows since his shock third round victory in 2014 and is seeded higher than anyone from Spain and Italy, although David is also from another country.
The match against David starts with an 18-12 lead after a few early points by the Canadian. Nadal had only one game in the first set but held on to win it 10-8.
Nadal is 0-0 at Fl