Fabio Fognini stuns Rafael Nadal to reach Monte-Carlo Masters final
Nadal suffers first defeat in the Principality since the 2015 semi-finals against Novak Djokovic
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 20/04/19 7:21pm
Italian Fabio Fognini ended the run of 11-time Monte-Carlo Masters champion Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-2 to reach Sunday's final, where he will take on unseeded Dusan Lajovic.
Fognini, who beat world No 3 Alexander Zverev and the 22-year-old Borna Coric to reach the last four, ended the Spaniard's streak of 25 consecutive sets won, before going on to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final.
In windy conditions at the Monte Carlo Country Club, Nadal was overwhelmed by Fognini, who began with all guns blazing.
Fognini's unpredictability, added to that of the windy weather conditions, were eventually too much for the Spanish world No 2 who bowed out despite battling until the end.
It was world No 18 Fognini's fourth career win against Nadal in 15 encounters, his third on the slowest surface.
Players that have recorded at least three wins against Nadal on clay:
Fabio FogniniDominic ThiemNovak DjokovicGaston Gaudio
Did you know...
Fognini becomes the first Italian to reach the Monte-Carlo final since Corrado Barazzutti (lost to Bjorn Borg) in 1977.
The 31-year-old joins an elite group of players who have beaten Nadal on his favourite clay surface three times.
I played one of my worst matches in 14 years.
"I played one of my worst matches in 14 years," Nadal said. "We can talk about technical and tactical things, but on this kind of day things are just not there. It's difficult to find an explanation."
"I was lucky to win the two games and to avoid the even worse score. I was not thinking much. Just thinking about how bad I played today."
He will take on Serbian Lajovic, who reached his first Masters 1000 final when he won 12 of the last 13 games to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-1.
Lajovic trailed 3-0 in the opening set before going through the gears.
The 10th-seeded Medvedev could not hold the pace as whirlwinds swept across centre court at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
Lajovic quickly moved 4-0 up in the second set against his frustrated opponent, who bowed out on the second match point.
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