FABIO Fognini pulled off a huge upset, stunning top seed and holder Rafa Nadal 1-6 6-2 7-5 in the Rio Open semi-final on Saturday.
The Italian’s spectacular victory ended world number three Nadal’s 52-match winning streak in semi-finals on clay and earned him a place in the final against another Spaniard David Ferrer.
“I’m really happy about this match. I beat the best player on this surface,” said the world number 28, who has been in good form this year since winning the Australian Open doubles title with Simone Bolelli last month.
“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,” he said after the match.
Nadal, who had complained of poor scheduling after Friday’s quarter-final win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas finished at 3.30 a.m. on Saturday, admitted that he had struggled physically.
“It was a good first set,” said Nadal. “In general I was missing continuity. I think I had good and bad moments, also physically, which I don’t really understand why.
“I didn’t feel so well in my fitness starting in the second set; I’m getting tired before usual. I had no problem with my groin.