The upsets keep coming at the Monte Carlo Masters.
In what he described as “one of the worst matches I’ve played on clay in 14 years”, Rafael Nadal was sent packing from the tournament by 13th seed Fabio Fognini, 6-4, 6-2.
The shock semi-final loss was a disaster for Nadal, who hadn’t dropped a set at Monte Carlo since 2017.
Instead, it was Fognini who set the pace.
The Italian dynamo dominated from pillar to post, particularly in the second set where he had an opportunity to close out Nadal 6-0.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) April 20, 2019
While Nadal fought back to win two games, there was little he could do to halt the Italian.
Speaking after the game, Nadal was brutal in his assessment of his performance.
“I played one of my worst matches on clay in 14 years,” he said.
“It’s difficult to find any positives.
“I played a very bad game against a good player, so in that situation you have to lose.”
Fognini thrilled to progress
Nadal’s pain was Fabio Fognini’s gain, as the Italian progressed to the final against Dusan Lajovic.
Fognini’s upset was the second major surprise of the tournament, after Novak Djokovic was sent packing by Daniil Medvedev.
All the more surprising for Fognini was how he overcame poor form early in the tournament.
After making it to the final after rallying from a set down in the first round, Fognini said he had “nothing to lose”.
“If you told me at the beginning of the week ‘see you on Sunday (for the final),’ I would laugh in your face,” Fognini said.
“I have the game to play against (Nadal).
“I had nothing to lose.”
The 10th-seeded Medvedev was appearing in the last eight of a Masters tournament for the first time but Djokovic struggled more in the windy conditions.
The Serb double-faulted at 30-30 to give Medvedev his first match point and a backhand winner secured a first win against Djokovic at the fourth attempt, and a first victory against a world No.1.
“He played worse than before and I am gaining more experience,” Medvedev said.
“He was not so good in the first set and made a lot of mistakes.”
Medvedev would later fall to Lajovic, 7-5, 6-1.