Saturday, September 05, 2015
I just arrived in NYC to attend the 2015 U.S. Open so I did not have time to blog about the huge surprise result that happened last night. Fabio Fognini beat Rafael Nadal for the third time this year, but this time was definitely not a charming experience for the 14-time major champ! It was the first time in a major tournament that Nadal had won the first two sets and not won the match (150-0).
Nadal was up two sets and a break before somehow Fognini turned the match around. (I saw the first set and a half and then went to pack and get ready for bed last night). Somehow the Italian leveled the match at 2-sets all (3-6 4-6 6-6 6-3) and then broke first to up 2-1 in the fifth set. Then there were an incredible SIX consecutive breaks of serve in a row, with Fognini finally holding at 5-4 to win the match well after 1am in New York City (I was long asleep--I turned off the coverage after Nadal broke back to even the match at 4-all.)
The amazing thing about this match is that Fognini won it, Nadal didn't lose it. The Italian hit 70 winners (to 57 unforced errors), more than twice Nadal's 30 winners (to only 18 unforced errors).
The loss means that for the first time since 2004 Nadal will not win a major. This was basically guaranteed when he did not win the French Open this year (only the second time in 11 years that has happened). So Nadal's streak of 10 consecutive years of major titles (2005-2014) surpasses Federer's streak of major titles from 2003-2010. (It should be noted, that in Federer's worst year, 2013, he at least reached a semifinal and a quarterfinal and he has reached finals in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015--winning only once.) The $80 million question is, now that he has stopped winning majors regularly, will Nadal come back to challenge and win another? (I think the answer is yes he will get to multiple finals, I'm not completely sure he will win multiple majors, however.)
Nadal has slipped to World #8 in the ATP rankings and his best Grand Slam results this year are Quarterfinals in Australia (l. Tomas Berdych) and Roland Garros (l. Novak Djokovic) with 2nd round losses at Wimbledon (l. Dustin Brown) and and now a 3rd round loss to Fognini at the U.S. Open.
Federer easily won his 3rd round match and still has not lost a set. He faces John Isner in the fourth round on Monday and I'll be there to see it!