Nadal Passes Fognini Test At US Open

Rafael Nadal (photo: Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

NEW YORK/STARNBERG, September 2, 2022

Rafael Nadal overcame a slow start on Thursday evening to defeat Italian veteran Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the US Open.

The 60th-ranked Fognini led by a set and moved ahead by a break on three occasions in the second set before the No. 2 seed found his game to surge ahead. Nadal, who is seeking a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title, converted nine of his 14 break-point chances to seal victory in two hours and 43 minutes.

“One of the worst starts, probably ever,” said Nadal, who produced 37 unforced errors during his match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “But that’s part of the game. You need to stay humble, you need to accept the situation. It hasn’t been an easy month for me, so I know this kind of stuff can happen. It’s another opportunity for me. I’m still alive after a match like this. That means a lot.”

With the win, Nadal became the first player to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin. The 36-year-old Spaniard will next take on Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who outlasted 32nd-seeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes.

Nadal’s compatriot Carlos Alcaraz also booked his spot in the third round at Flushing Meadows. The 19-year-old from Murcia cruised past Argentine Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 in two hours and 10 minutes.

“It is never easy to close [out] a match. Federico started to play very well. I had to stay calm to think [about] what I had to do at that moment. I stayed calm and focused in the tough moments,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.

The No. 3 seed will next face US-American Jenson Brooksby, who beat No. 25 seed Borna Coric of Croatia 6-4, 7-6(10), 6-1 in three hours and six minutes. Alcaraz and Nadal both have the opportunity to finish the US Open as the World No. 1.

In other action, Ilya Ivashka from Belarus knocked out eighth-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 in three hours and five minutes and awaits Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti in the third round, who edged past Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. The encounter lasted two hours and 30 minutes.

Swiatek storms into third round

In the women’s draw, World No. 1 Iga Swiatek from Poland beat Sloane Stephens from the United States 6-3, 6-2. The top seed broke her rival four times to prevail in 74 minutes.

“I’m pretty happy with my focus today,” Swiatek said on-court after her victory. “I’ve had ups and downs, but here I was pretty solid from the beginning.” 

Up next for Swiatek will be US-American Lauren Davis, who pulled off an impressive comeback to win 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) against No. 28 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova from Russia.

Petra Martic of Croatia caused the upset of the day by edging out fourth-seeded Spaniard Paula Badosa 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and six minutes.