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Fognini: My Game is Ready For Rafa


Lava lover Fabio Fognini says he's ready to face tennis' volcanic fire&mdsdash;his rematch with Rafael Nadal.

Fognini dissected Aussie No. 1 Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 setting up a highly-anticipated fourth-round clash vs. Rafael Nadal. The second-seeded Spaniard faced just one break point in a 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Briton Cameron Norrie.

More Milestone For Ruud and Coach

The Nadal vs. Fognini match is a rematch of the 2015 US Open third round where the theatrical Italian made history as the first man to fightback from a two-set deficit and defeat Nadal in a Grand Slam with a 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

The feisty Fognini, who saved a match point out-dueling compatriot Salvatore Caruso in a contentious round two clash that saw the pair nearly come to blows, says his game is ready for Rafa.

"I'm really looking forward to play him," Fognini said of Nadal. "It's a new challenge for him—for me, sorry, because as I said before, I was not expect by myself to finish really good like that and this is a good step to moving forward to tell to my body and see if my body if is ready.

"The first step that I did, if I have to say that my tennis is ready, yes. The second thing, we see, because Rafa, everybody know him that it's more physically than mentally than most of the other thing."

Playing for his record-extending 21st Grand Slam title, Nadal has not dropped a set reaching his 14th AO fourth round. Whereas Fognini may well feel the strain of his four-hour fight vs. Caruso.

"Tennis, I'm ready," Fognini said. "Physically hopefully that, of course, I play five sets, I think he's more fresh than me, but it's a big challenge for me to see the next step how I am and how I'm feeling."

Overall, Nadal holds a 12-4 career edge over Fognini, including winning seven of their last eight encounters since that Flushing Meadows defeat.



"Of course we had our story on court a couple of years ago, but no problem at all after that, no? I always try to have a good relationship with everybody in the locker room, no?" Nadal said.  "And with Fabio, I never had a big problem. Just on court that time. I was speaking with him now in the locker."

Nadal calls a focused Fognini one of the most dangerous opponents on Tour.

"So like a player, he's one of the most talented players on tour with a lot of amazing things," Nadal said of Fognini.  "When he's playing well, he's one of the most dangerous opponents on tour without a doubt, no? Today he had an amazing victory against a great opponent, so will be a very tough match. But I hope to be ready for it."

The 2015 Australian Open doubles champion made his feelings for Nadal clear in his recently-published memoir Warning: My Life Between the Lines. Fognini described the King of Clay as a force of nature on court calling Nadal’s energy and fierce competitive desire "savage."

Fabio Fognini on Rafael Nadal: “It is difficult to describe how Nadal plays. If I had to get into it and describe him with one word, it would be savage. An explosion of volcanic energy guided by discipline and method. He plays each point of the training sessions as if they were championship points of a Grand Slam. Tennis for him is a very serious and very important thing. The first time I met Nadal was at the US Open in 2003. He was playing on the simulator, and he saw me. We were talking and decided to meet one day. to train together. That’s when I realized that I was made for this sport."

Photo credit: US Open Facebook

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