There’s Hope Yet For Rafael Nadal, He’s In The Hamburg Final Against Fabio Fognini
by Sean Randall | August 1st, 2015, 2:41 pm
  • 130 Comments

There’s still hope for Rafael Nadal! After meekly dropping the opening set of the Hamburg tournament to countryman Fernando Verdasco, Rafa has reeled off eight straight sets to reach the finals where tomorrow he’ll face new nemesis Fabio Fognini.

Today, Nadal didn’t have much trouble between the lines against Andreas Seppi, belting the Italian 6-1, 6-2. Though it wasn’t as crisp as the scoreline indicated. There were still some misses (though far fewer than we have seen), some ill-timed double faults and a mysterious injury time out for some sort of upper body, stomach/ab muscle ache.

But Nadal did have depth on his shots and he did have some zip on that forehand, finishing with 21 winners and just 7 unforced. But he was playing Seppi! That said, he did have some decent wins earlier in the week over Jiri Vesely and Pablo Cuevas after running away from Verdasco.

“From the beginning I played great, since the first game that I hit a few winners,” Nadal said. “I was very comfortable on court today, feeling the ball well, with topspin to his backhand and then changing to his forehand down the line – a very important shot for me. In general it was a very positive match.

“Every victory is important. And this year with the up and downs that I’ve had, obviously every improvement is important. I played at a very high level. I’m very happy for that, playing with not many mistakes, very well with my backhand, very well with my forehand, hitting winners, changing speeds, changing directions. I think I played a great match.”

So he is looking good.

Tomorrow, the task is far tougher against another Italian in Mr. Fognini. Fabio, who beat qualifier Lucas Pouille today in his semi, has beaten Nadal the last two times they have played stunning him in the Rio semifinals and again in the third round at Barcelona.

Could Nadal actually lose to Fognini a third straight time this year? If he did would the internet break?

Well, yes it could happen, and not sure on what would happen to the internet as we know it. But what we do know is Nadal is working out his game and his mind right now, trying to get right after a disappointing French and Wimbledon.

For Rafa, it’s really not about winning Slams at the moment, it’s about beating guys like Fognini to win smaller titles and working his way back up the ladder. About building some sort of confidence. So I think Sunday he gets it done and wins his first European clay title since the French Open last year. And above all, he beats a guy who’s given him problems of late – ok, it’s not Novak Djokovic, but it’s a start. Then, maybe as he heads to the hardcourts in Canada, this gives him a lift. Becuase he damn sure needs one.

“I will try to keep playing well and enjoy today’s victory,” said Nadal. “These are important points for me – 300 points for my goal of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals is important. Matches like today help to bring you your confidence and your motivation for what you are doing.”

Nadal won Hamburg in 2008 beating Roger Federer in the final the last time he played event. Fognini won it in 2013.

Hamburg isn’t the only clay final Sunday, we have another in Gstaad, and it’s a good one between two of the younger stars, David Goffin and Dominic Thiem. Thiem handed Feliciano Lopez a 3-set loss to win his seventh straight match while Goffin took out Thomaz Bellucci quite comfortably 6-4, 6-2.

Both guys are terrific players. I just wish they were winning matches on the hardcourts – it is August after all!

Speaking of the hardcourts, that’s surface of choice in Hot-Lanta where John Isner is currently trying to 3-peat. He plays the improving Denis Kudla last today. And then tonight Marcos Baghdatis battles Gilles Muller. It’s nice to see Marcos playing good tennis again.


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130 Comments for There’s Hope Yet For Rafael Nadal, He’s In The Hamburg Final Against Fabio Fognini

Gypsy Gal Says:

Rafa isnt even playing Novak Djokovic hes playing Fabio Fognini,so it would be nice if we could just concentrate on that,rather than what he has to do against other players….


jalep Says:

Yep. Rafa double faulted while trying to serve for the match — not what I expected to see, but Seppi couldn’t hold his own serve to save himself.

Good match for Rafa. He only factored in 300 points in his post match interview, but I betcha he gets the full 500 points with the win and he sounds motivated to make year-end finals, so I’m anticipating a strong North American HC performance from him.

Not a given though… Fabio could win. (I don’t think so)

Being a Fabio fan, I’ll enjoy him making me smile and roll my eyes, as usual.

Love watching Goffin too, so it’s decent tennis for tomorrow.

But Tennis Channel has had no coverage from HOTlanta, so…??? not sure where that is being broadcast.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Rafa is my favorite player,but god damn i know hes a headcase with a terrible temper,but Fabio is so bloody hot..;-D….


jalep Says:

Okay GG. Who said this about him and made me laugh?

“Fabio would look good in a bin liner.”


Gypsy Gal Says:

Jalep yeah that was me lol,GG =HC,im always upfront about who i am,and dont hide behind sock puppets,but also like your good self like to change my monikors around from time to time,anyway about Fabio the guys so hot he could melt cheese….


jalep Says:

hahaha…completely agree about Fabs.

Change of monikers is a must on the internet ;)


Patson Says:

At this point, I would want to entertain the thought of Fabio winning tomorrow. The reason being that he beat Rafa twice this year on clay. Surely there is something Fabio is doing that is making Nadal uncomfortable. If Fabio dictates play tomorrow, I see him winning for the third time this year. Fabio won’t be short of confidence against Rafa tomorrow.


skeezer Says:

“my goal of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals is important”

Rafa please tell that to your minions.

ATP Finals is most important and relevant event in the Tour year, not some “exhibition”.


skeezer Says:

@OK,
The answer is yes, was.


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer, I had a feeling you must have been. You know a lot about the finer points of the game. Wish I did. Thanks for the reply……


Margot Says:

Fabio must be one of the most irritating players to be a fan of.
Half the time he looks like a genius, the other half he acts like he’s never picked up a tennis racquet in his life before. Frequently within the same game.


Nitesh Says:

Monflis is also one player irritating to be fan of


Nitesh Says:

Even nadal too sometimes he is injured sometimes gone for months & his wimbeldon campaign sometimes its too much


Margot Says:

Nitesh: Monfils is clearly a worthy runner up in the “most frustrating to be a fan of” top 10 chart!
However, Rafa? No. Look at the injuries us Andy fans have had to cope with.


Nitesh Says:

Andy had his own share of injuries but Rafa is the top dog in injuries among the big 4


Nitesh Says:

My favourite player are Rafa & del petro there combined injuries have hurt me a lot


Nitesh Says:

I still remember the thrashing del potro gave nasal in 2009 USO


Margot Says:

Nitesh: Feel your pain over that one but doesn’t it mitigate it somewhat, if you quite like the player who beat your fave? There are some players I HATE Andy to lose to….naming no names of course…do not wish huge turd landing on my head…..;)
Just watching Fab Fog playing Rafa. Commies are saying Rafa has a problem with his shoulder. Have you heard anything?


Nitesh Says:

Not much


jalep Says:

All I have to say is:

If you are not
watching this match,
you should be:

Neither Rafa or Fabs could hold a serve for the 1st 3 games. Hilariouw!!

Now they both held at 4-4.
understating by a lot – this is interesting so far. Lots of machismo out there hehehe

Margot, you are quite right about being a Fabs fan but it hardly gets more entertaining from a psychological pov.


Margot Says:

@jalep
Agree about the match and the machismo :) I think Rafa will edge it. Fab Fog looks flaky at key moments.
Oh absolutely re being a Fab fan too. And how dull if all the players were the same boring type. One reason why I like Andy tbh. One of a kind.


Margot Says:

Case in point: Flaky Fog fails to take game 11, when he really should’ve. Now let’s see if Rafa can br8 for the set.
But anyway just lerve ties, providing Mr Murray isn’t playing of course :)


jalep Says:

The machismo meter stopped jumping up and down some but the median number remains quite high.

Andy is interesting too. Also think the line between winning and losing for him is mental – he’s unbeatable when physically healthy. Only Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, maybe Stan, can beat him. Think he can win v the last 3, he needs Nole to be having an off day.

OOF! Fabs. Rafa has set points


jalep Says:

Wow…he fought them off, the set points.

hahahaha but he’s not out of the woods yet


jalep Says:

Rafa has more endurance, it appears. And he breaks and takes the set 7-5

Okay, sigh…
Will the fight in Fabs go out :(

That was a funny set of tennis though :D


jalep Says:

winners to errors 1st set

19-6 Rafa
34-15 Fabs
winners/errors


Margot Says:

And Rafa takes the first set 7-5. Quel surprise, not!
Rafa is not playing especially well and still a mile behind the baseline, it’s rather Fab Fog can’t string two winners together.
Go away with your “Nole needs to be havibg an off day.” Andy is snarling at his heels and, by the law of averages, that day will come when, whatever day Nole is having, Andy will beat him.


jalep Says:

Uhm, okay Margot. Andy’s healthy and quite capable of beating Nole. We’ve seen it before but not for awhile. Not saying he won’t do it.

Enjoyed that first set. Fabio put up more resistance than I expected, Margot. Rafa is determined – this one means a lot to him ;)


Navdeep Says:

fognini is a mixture of genius and joker. On his dsy he can tear apart anyone but we see the brilliance only in flashes.


jalep Says:

quite right Navdeep

might say it’s more like hormonal hot flashes at this point now.

If he only had Kei Nishikori’s cool; but then he wouldn’t be Fabs.


jalep Says:

And Margot, I like Andy very much, btw. His clay performance was boss.

Didn’t say he can’t beat Nole. We know he can.


jalep Says:

Andy disappointed me at Wimbledon – thought he won win the title this year.


jalep Says:

thought he would win the title …that should say.


Navdeep Says:

This is nadal’s match now. He looks quite determined and the thing that looks promising is that his ‘one more shot’ quality is coming back.


jalep Says:

shoot. the fun is over, it appears. Fabs gave me a sliver of hope that 1st set.

Hate to see him go out like a lamb and wish he’d keep fighting but…time for coffee.


jalep Says:

indeed. Rafa the one more shot quality is back. Very good match for Rafa’s confidence going forward – much needed.


jalep Says:

Wish they’d keep the camera on Simone Bolleli more.


Navdeep Says:

Fab breaks back !
This guy is impossible to understand


jalep Says:

Fognini lacks a reliable serve weapon in matches like this. Rafa is to tough to hang with in rallies for Fabs.

Rafa was shaky on serve that 1st set though and this is maybe a crucial point… break point…

Saved by a Rafa forehand winner.

Wow…Fabs is not giving up quite yet.

OMG


Navdeep Says:

Fab breaks again n now ahead in the set !
But that was a ridiculous call.


Daniel Says:

Online streaming is awfuk today, not following match, only score. Nadal was a break up in second but now Fognini break again and is leading second set. Let’s see of he holda and can force a third. This is setting to be a long match if it goes to three and neuther rund out of steam.


jalep Says:

Rafa going to break back…??


Navdeep Says:

Whatever happens from here, amids all the ue’s n brilliant winners , this one is worthy of a final.


jalep Says:

arrgh…

Well, this is good tennis now, have to admit.


Daniel Says:

Fognini had game point to go up 5-3 but got broken. Think now Nadal will win in 2. He was broken last tow times he served so Fognini has to put frustration aside.


jalep Says:

It is, Navdeep!


Margot Says:

Well, well Fab Fog fights back.
Still think Rafa will win tho.


jalep Says:

was wondering if you were watching this, Daniel ;)


Navdeep Says:

Fab has a chance to break againnnn !


jalep Says:

Back to trading BREAKS. oh lord…

Fabs will attempt to serve for 2nd set hehehe


Daniel Says:

Third straight break to Fabio, can he hold it? They won more games breakin than holding in this match;-)


jalep Says:

:D en fuego is Rafa…


Navdeep Says:

woh ! an argument between the players !


Daniel Says:

My lap top is repairing, water fell on it:-(
Trying to watch by phine but not working jalep


jalep Says:

Did you see Rafa and Fabio arguing on changeover Daniel??


jalep Says:

Rafa telling Fabio to get back to his chair when Fabio got up


jalep Says:

Oh, sorry to hear that Daniel :/

This is one you’d like to see – I think.

Rafa breaks back. Wow, lost opportunity for Fabio.
Surely, that will be enough for Fabs.


Navdeep Says:

Rafa breaks again ! this is freaking me out


jalep Says:

Match has it all, I tell ya…


Daniel Says:

Jes, he was broken again kkkk

Eventually Nadal will, will prevail😜


jalep Says:

Fans not watching are missing out


Daniel Says:

Out of Fognini 10 games so far 5 were breaks and he was broken 6 tumes out of 11 serves.
Now he has DP again. Insane


jalep Says:

Forzaaaaaa Fabs what a shot for a break chance!

But can’t convert.


Daniel Says:

Nadal saves 3 BP’s, if he holds match is over. Only shot Fabio has is break and see of he can hold to close the set. All misses oportunities will hunt himmif he has to serve to force a breaker.


jalep Says:

No one can say Fabio Fognini didn’t fight for this but…

He needs to hold here


Karthick Says:

This is a pure roller coaster ride.. Better than watching a thriller movie.. :)


Daniel Says:

2 game points Fabio, if he doesn’t hold now he never will.


jalep Says:

Rafa wants and needs this done now…

eek! Fogna. Serve weapon needed for Italian. Shoot.

Match point Rafa


Daniel Says:

40-15 and now MP Nadal.


Margot Says:

As exected. Congrats to Rafa :) Wooden spoon to Fab Flaky Fog.
Intense, tight match with some lovely shot making and some lulus.


jalep Says:

Well done Rafa and Congrats Rafa fans.

:/ disappointing for a Fabio fan. But he has a doubles match with grande Bolleli. Forzaaaaa Fab and Simone!


Navdeep Says:

Took more than 2 n a half hour for 2 sets! if only it would have gone into the third !!


Daniel Says:

And Nadal takes it. confidence booster for sure avenging another string of losses. Seems he just refused to lose again on clay to Fabio.

Oddily Fabio has a decent serve but maybe he got tired and wasn’t able to serve it to it’s maximum because almost all games he was broken he was in leadung position or had game points. A tiebreak would be nice bit not ment to be. Now onto HCs


Navdeep Says:

Fabio played well. hope he gets the double.


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafael Nadal! Great win.
Take that haters and especially Patson.


Karthick Says:

so Rafa keeps the record of winning at least 1 European clay court title for the 12th straight year :)


Giles Says:

@jalep. Your good wishes are much appreciated.
😀😊


Giles Says:

Fog and partner withdrew from dubs!😈


jalep Says:

Didn’t get to see the Thiem v Goffin Gstaad final.

TC commentators said Goffin wasn’t on his game. Had my hopes up for Goffin because he played a near flawless match v Bellucci. Saw three of Goffin’s matches this week and have decided he’s a worthy replacement for the great Kolya Davydenko…maybe, we’ll see. Reminds me of Davy.

Congrats to Dominic Thiem – not sure if he has fans here…


Michael Says:

A great morale boosting win for Rafa ahead of the Hard Court season !! He needed that badly !!


jalep Says:

His serve is okay, I think Daniel. But it fails him too much when he needs it most – even in doubles with Simone.

Meant he needs a serve weapon like…like Federer’s, let’s say.


Navdeep Says:

Rafa is looking good now. Still making some errors but not surrendering points easily. Hope he plays well on hard courts. Lots of point on offer.


jalep Says:

He is, Navdeep. He might not have won today v Nishikori…if Nishikori’s head was on Fabio’s shoulders, we would have gotten our 3 set match, let’s say

cheers


Jock-KatH Says:

Congrats to Rafa fans, GG, Okiegal and others – he’s on his way.


Navdeep Says:

Jalep, who is your favourite player ?


jalep Says:

I have many favorites Navdeep – Not really a player I don’t like anymore. Of the top players I do like Nole the best. He comes across to many fans as a machine at this point though with his dominance but he’s made good in the time of Fedal so…

Federer’s tennis perhaps the style I liked the most but anyone winning that much for so long does start wear on me and goes into territory which I had never known before as a Sport fan. It’s complicated. I’m not a fan of sheer dominance by any team or individual (mostly). Alberto Contador Valasco is an exception, must admit. But that is likely down to the controversy around him and my defense (futile passion) for fair play in cycling. Long story lol…

On a forum like this, the few main big stars are the focus and obsession. So I don’t spend as much time posting as I do watching. I like to follow much more than one player or team. And love to ride my bike – it keeps me semi-sane. Thanks for asking.

Who is your favorite, Navdeep?


Navdeep Says:

I m Rafa fan. Actually started watching tennis after he arrived. But i like both Roger and novak. The greatest trio of the game. Andy is also good.


jalep Says:

Really Giles?? didn’t know that yet about Bolleli and Fabio. hmm… that’s too bad :/

Have been watching rerun of Gstaad final on TC and not keeping track, thanks.


jalep Says:

Rafa fan. I could almost tell Navdeep, but you are very calm :)

That was close to a ‘must win’ match for Rafa — was my feeling going into hard courts this month.

He did a good job with the win. Helluva good match, for a tennis fan!


Navdeep Says:

I get tense while Rafa plays but this year is tough for him; So as a loyal fan i m just hoping he remains healthy and continues to get better, whatever the time it takes. He has given us unforgettable moments so we must keep our faith on him.


jalep Says:

Wait a minute, I misspoke, Navdeep. Should qualify what I said a little.

Not a player that I don’t like but as for playing styles the one that does annoy me is, as poster Markus puts it, the Trebuchet style. Isner tennis isn’t something I cheer for but it’s nothing personal. And there are some Trebuchet’s out there now but I distinguish differences and sometimes cheer for the odd one, for example:

Will confess to cheering for Jerzy Janowicz because he needs it!


Navdeep Says:

Hey, i like jerzy too but he is some kind of lost right now.


jalep Says:

Getting tense isn’t the preferred way to watch for me to get maximum enjoyment, Navdeep. But sometimes it just can’t be helped. Keeping myself balanced is an ongoing effort and I do have a list of those that make it a challenge:

Simona Halep
Alexander Dolgopolov
Camila Giorgi
David Goffin
Fabio Fognini
Agnieszka Radwanska
Kei Nishikori
Anyone French – male or female
Nole, depending on the tournament


jalep Says:

Ana Ivanovic is a favorite…almost forgot; and likely forgetting others much less thought about like Andrey Rublev; a little premature for expectations but I like his potential so will go hunting for him in any draw, most every week.


jalep Says:

Okay then, Navdeep! We cheer JJ here against the odds…


Nitesh Says:

Federer pure pleasure to watch
Then I like del potro thrash thrash
Then nadal I don’t have that serve but I will keep on chasing let’s see who gives up


Navdeep Says:

Radwanska is one i always cheer for. She is a cllass player and looks good on court. Her problem is she looses too many important points and doesnt go for the kill.


Navdeep Says:

Jerzy’s story is so inspiring that i want him to win against everyone………. bt rafa, ofcourse….haha


jalep Says:

Goffin is all class, as is Thiem. Lovely speeches and trophy ceremony in Gstaad.


jalep Says:

Ah..of course Nitesh. Delpo, really miss that guy.

========

Exactly, Navdeep. Jerzy has one of those stories…can’t help cheering for him. Like Modric, not a Real Madrid fan, but love watching Luka Modric.


Giles Says:

Still waiting for chick chick, hippy gal, gypsy chick to offer congratulations after all the negative comments!


Navdeep Says:

Plz,plz,plz dont talk about delpo. Easily the the best player ruined by injuries


Giles Says:

With this title Rafa ties fed in most wins outdoors (65), reaches 47 titles on clay which means 12 years winning at least 1 EU clay title.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Giles im delighted Rafa won the title,my post is late due to work,didnt actually see the match,im watching the recording on my hard drive,a bit up and down performance from our guy,but he got the job done,and he showed alot of fight,heart,spirit and sheer bloody mindedness,he played like Rafael Nadal a 14 time GS champion,like the old Rafa,congrats to Rafa,and hope he carries it forward,cheers….


Okiegal Says:

I got up at 6:00 am to watch the match before Church. First set right at 1 1/2 hrs. Had to pull away and dress for worship service missed their so called feud. So glad he won. Someone said it wasn’t a very good match but I will have to disagree, I thought it was entertaining. There was some fantastic shot making by both parties!! Congratulations to Rafa for his umpteenth clay title and also to Fabio for his good play making it to the finals! Thanks to ESPN3.comtennis I got to watch every match!! I love the internet and live streaming!

My hubby was channel surfing and came across a World Tennis Match. After this is over I will watch Isner vs someone. Didn’t know they were televising the Atlanta Open…..


Patson Says:

Predicting that the other person would win makes one a hater ? That’s a new one for me.

Congrats to Rafa. This should do good to his confidence.


Okiegal Says:

Thanks, KatH! Another clay title…..which a few fans like to discount……but a title is a title is a title……… :)


Gypsy Gal Says:

Patson many thanks,ive never heard you say anything nasty about Rafa that i can recall,your posts are always only objective,so i dont really know where Giles got that one from?….


sienna Says:

yup title is a title.
Nadal sponsors need this to keep him in winner circle.

Marketing strategy to pick out clay title outside clayseason.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Many thanks KatH ….;)….


Skeezer Says:

Jalep,
“Anyone French – male or female”.
I am French ;-)


Markus Says:

Happy for Nadal, for Gypsy Gal, for OkieGal ( you two now share a last name, well at least a last syllable… and hey, you also rhyme with Nadal!) and yes, for Giles, too! Congratulations!


Giles Says:

Markus. Many thanks. :)


Jock-KatH Says:

Skeezer – wow, U are French!!

Never thought we’d have anything in common – I particularly luv Gael and Jo.

Then there’s the “auld alliance”
And usually the nonchalance!!! (However not too keen on the latter at the moment given current events).


Gypsy Gal Says:

LOL Thankyou Markus,in a sea of dissapointment this year,your posts and a Nadal win are an oasis of pleasure,cheers….


Gypsy Gal Says:

I thought Skeezer once said that he was Irish?….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Giles theres a post for you at 12.45pm….


Okiegal Says:

I took a Siesta this afternoon in honor of Rafa’s title!! Just woke up….behind on the chat, catching up, thank you Sweet Markus…..appreciate it!! I’m happy happy happy!!!!!


jalep Says:

skeezer…what? grandparents, ancestors, born in France? Like GG, thought you said were Irish at one time…

mais non, no one who knows you could ever doubt your panache on a tennis court or souplesse on a bicycle!

yeah, maybe cast too wide a net saying I get tense watching anyone male or female who is French. Should have said French tennis players. But I might be nervous if I watched you :D


jalep Says:

TC had a piece on the Montreal tournament…sure looks like my kind of place. Really need to try and get there for Rogers Cup. It’s on the bucket list!


skeezer Says:

jalep,
Of course I am Irish…….with a touch of French. ;).
Congrats to Rafa fans today. A long overdue good day, no?


Gypsy Gal Says:

Thankyou Skeezer….


Okiegal Says:

@Markus……Do you mean Nadal’s Gals?? Cute!!


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer…..Thank you…..it has been a long dry spell………


Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie lol,Nadals Gals cute indeed ;)….


Okiegal Says:

I’ve learned as of late through genealogy research that my ancestors immigrated from Scotland, Ireland,
Wales, Nedarlands, and Germany. Guess that would make me a Heinz 57! Lol


Okiegal Says:

@GG 5:04. :)


Daniel Says:

Battle for #8 seed for US Open is on after this title by Nadal. He is currently #9, 10 points agead of Raonic at 10 and 75 pts behind Cilic.

Cilic is defending R16 in both Canada and Cincy, while Raonic defends Quarters and Semis.

Nadal has 0 points to defend so unless Rainic reaches a final it will stay netween Cilic and Nadal. Nadal just has to perform equal than Cilic or less minimum 90 pts than Cilic to guarantee #8 seed.

Cilic will drop 180 pts to 3315 and Nadal stands at 3410.

It may not change much but if Nadal stays at #9 there is a 50% possibility he could play either Djoko, Fed, Murray or Wawa in R16 whereas of he garantee #8 seed he can only face one of them in Quarters.


Jock-KatH Says:

Daniel

Think Milos won Washington last year – not playing this year – so will lose 500 points – a benefit to Rafa.

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