Fognini ends Nadal’s bid for 12th Monte Carlo Masters title
Fognini ends Nadal’s bid for 12th Monte Carlo Masters title
Rafael Nadal in action. More
21 April, 2019, 05:35
The 48th-ranked Serb - appearing in his first ATP final - will face the victor from the other semi-final between 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and Italy's 13th seed Fabio Fognini.
Rafael Nadal will take on Fabio Fognini in a much-awaited semifinal clash of the Monte Carlo Masters 2019 at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 20.
After the two exchanged five breaks of serve in a close first set, Fognini almost handed Nadal his first bagel since the 2018 USA quarterfinals at 5-0 in the second.
Fabio Fognini after beating Rafael Nadal.
Pella, 28, four times a beaten clay court finalist before he captured his first ATP title on the same surface at last month's Brazil Open, was then broken in the first game of the next.
"Always, when Novak loses, (it) seems unusual because he's super solid", Nadal said.
In their historical match-ups across all surfaces, Fognini has only won just over 60% of service games, giving insight into how hard he has found holding serve against the premier returner on tour, and he's only managed a similar number on clay despite saving around 10% more break point chances on his serve than would be expected given his service points won percentage.
"It was an incredible match today", said world number 48 Lajovic, the lowest-ranked player to reach the final here since Hicham Arazi in 2001.
He served for the match leading 5-2 in the second only to drop serve again, but recovered to take the win as Pella double-faulted. "Luckily I was able to come back (from 4-1 down) in the first set".
The 31-year-old world number 18 has lost 11 of his 14 matches with Nadal but is one of only seven players to have beaten the Spaniard on clay on more than one occasion.
"I had a really good week, did some good work", said the Italian.
But whether Fognini, who previously lost 11 times to Nadal overall, could capitalize seemed uncertain.
Earlier, Dusan Lajovic staged a remarkable comeback from 5-1 down to beat No. 10 seed Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1 to book his place in the final on Sunday. "Just thinking about how bad I played today".
Fognini has made it through adversity to reach this far in the tournament.
It could have been an all-Serb semifinal but Medvedev knocked out the top-ranked Djokovic in Friday's quarterfinals.
The 10th-seeded Medvedev could not hold the pace as winds swept across centre court and Lajovic quickly moved 4-0 up in the second set against a frustrated opponent, who bowed out on the second match point.
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