Australian Open - 'Worried in every moment' - Rafael Nadal never comfortable beating Fabio Fognini
Rafael Nadal recorded a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday but, despite the convincing margin of victory over his Italian rival, he was always wary about playing an opponent who had enjoyed success against him in the past. Nadal now faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in the next round.
Spain's Rafael Nadal (L) and Italy's Fabio Fognini walk back to their seats after their men's singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 15, 2021.
Rafael Nadal said he never felt comfortable during his straight-sets Australian Open win over Fabio Fognini, despite the convincing scoreline.
The Spaniard reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne thanks to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over the Italian, who is one of only two players to have come back from two sets down to beat the 20-time Grand Slam winner ever.
Fognini had been in a commanding position in the second set on Monday but Nadal rattled off four straight games to double his advantage in the match.
"In quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, you're going to face a very tough opponent. They are both young, strong and with a lot of energy. It's going to be a big challenge. I'm happy to be through today. It was an important victory for my confidence, for everything."
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Nadal went into the tournament nursing a back issue but says that he is slowly beginning to feel like his usual self heading into the crunch period of the tournament.
"I'm happy that the back is holding better. Tomorrow is going to be an important day of practice again. I hope to be able to do it well, let's see if I can play a good match."
Unusually for Nadal, he was playing in the day session at Melbourne Park but admitted that, despite the humidity, he preferred the hotter conditions as they suit his game more than night matches.
"Today was very humid, warm. But the conditions are quicker during the day, and honestly I liked it a bit more.
"I like the ball flying a bit faster in the air but I need to adapt to every single condition. That's why I am here, to be ready for every condition, something that I think I haven't experienced."
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