Nadal clears a problem | Canary Islands7

Rafael Nadal during the match. / REUTERS

Second round

The Spaniard solves one of his worst matches in a long time to get into the third round of the US Open

Complicated night for Rafael Nadal in New York. A night that he hadn't experienced in a long time, with a huge number of unforced errors, with many lost services, with a wound in his nose and with the feeling that the tournament could end here. A difficult night, which, even so, Nadal pulled through against the always difficult Fabio Fognini (2-6, 6-4, 6-2 and 6-1) to advance to the third round of the US Open.

The Spaniard, who committed a whopping 37 unforced errors, threatened a major scare for a set and a half, his worst spell of tennis in many months and even years. Fognini, at 35 years old and already with nothing to lose or prove, tightened the screws without a great level, but delving into the doubts of a Nadal who lost his serve twice in the first set and who made eleven errors in that set. , for only three winning shots.

There was fear with Nadal's condition, even more so when he requested the presence of the physio on the track due to a blister on his finger that, luckily, was a scare. The one from Manacor was distracted, out of the game, with his head elsewhere, and his tennis shoes did not respond. This allowed Fognini, without a great level, to take a 4-2 lead in the second quarter, two games from being two sets up, a disadvantage that the Spaniard has only overcome four times in his career, never in the US. Open.

The danger was real, because Nadal didn't even see the initiative, and he needed to cut off a burst of four breaks in a row to straighten out the match. It seemed like an anecdote, keeping a simple serve and going 4-3, but it was essential for the game to turn around completely.

Fognini's head went off and Nadal roared to start rising. Not much, since his tennis continued to scratch at a low level, but by increasing the pace a little it was enough to overwhelm a Fognini off and it was in his hand to deal an important blow to the Balearic Islands. The Italian's advantage vanished and Nadal resurfaced to win four games in a row from 4-2 and level the match. The set had been horrible, with 39 unforced errors between the two, but Nadal pulled it off.

And that was the sentence. Fognini disappeared, Nadal endured the attack and held a medium level, enough to mount the comeback. The Manacorense's partial went from thirteen games to two until, in the middle of the fourth set, already with the match under control, 2 sets to 1 and 3-0, when another setback came. After hitting a blow, his racket bounced off the ground, hitting her in the nose and opening a wound in her septum. He had to throw the racket to the ground and lie down so that the physio could attend to him and bandage the wound. A little scare to complete one of the most complicated games in memory.

Nadal saved him and he will be in the third round of the US Open, where he will face Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who eliminated Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. It will be the 18th meeting of the Gasquet-Nadal rivalry, with an impressive 17-0 in favor of the Spaniard, who defeated him for the last time at Roland Garros 2021 and who has not lost a set against him since Montreal 2008. Since then, Nadal has won 31 consecutive sets to Gasquet.

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