Nadal survives Fognini challenge in Toronto

Published by Tennismash

FIGHTING HARD: Rafael Nadal survived a test against Fabio Fognini; Getty Images
World No.2 Rafael Nadal advances to the Montreal semifinals, keeping alive his hopes of winning a fifth Canadian Open title.

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal rallied to reach the Canadian Open semifinals, beating No.7 seed Fabio Fognini in a three-set battle.

Nadal recovered from a slow start to post a 2-6 6-1 6-2 quarterfinal victory over the Italian.

“Honestly, the beginning of the match (was) difficult because I (was) playing probably a little bit better than him, but then the score was against me,” Nadal said.

“It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me. I have been playing better and better.”

Nadal avoided an upset exit unlike his fellow top seeds, with both Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem knocked out in the quarterfinals.

Russian Karen Khachanov defeated the third-seeded Zverev 6-3 6-3, while Daniil Medvedev needed only 56 minutes to eliminate the second-seeded Thiem 6-3 6-1.

“Of course, I was expecting a tougher match,” Medvedev said. “I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily. It saved me a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence, so I’m very happy.”

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It sets up the first ever all-Russian semifinal in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. Their tour-level head-to-head is tied at one-all, with Medvedev winning their most recent encounter last season.

“(It is) never easy to play against a friend from the same country. We grew up together. We played all the tournaments since 12 or 14,” Khachanov said about facing Medvedev.

“We know each other pretty well. From one side it’s difficult, but from the other side both of us, we know what to expect, how we are playing completely different styles. (It should) be an interesting match.”

In the other semifinal, Nadal faces the winner of a rain-delayed quarterfinal between Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and France’s Gael Monfils.

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