Rafael Nadal avenged a shock Monte Carlo loss to Fabio Fognini by beating the Italian Friday night in Montreal 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me,” Nadal assessed. “I have been playing better and better.”
Fognini jumped on top early with slapping winners off both wings, frustrating Nadal.
In the second, Rafa got back in charge with better depth on his shots. Fognini needed treatment for a foot issue he tweaked in the first, and that spelled his doom in the the third as Rafa ran away with the match taking 12 of the last 15 games.
“I lost 6-2 with the feeling I was not playing bad, no negative feelings on the ball, just things going too fast,” Nadal said. “Honestly, the beginning of the match difficult because I playing probably a little bit better than him, but then the score was against me. I felt that I had a big chance to be 3-Love for me. then it was 3-1 for him.”
Nadal goes into his 7th Canadian Open semifinal where he will take on either Roberto Bautista Agut or Gael Monfils. Their match was suspended just two points in due to rain and will resume at 1pm on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Russians Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov set up a semifinal showdown.
Playing in his first Canadian Open quarterfinal, Medevedev destroyed a hapless Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-1 in under an hour.
Medvedev was never really troubled, barely losing points on serve and controlling the action off the ground to reach his second Masters semifinal. He won 16 of the first 17 points of the second set against the fading Austrian.
“Of course, I was expecting a tougher match,” said Medvedev. “I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily. It saved me a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence, so I’m very happy.”
Thiem would later comment that he was not feeling well which contributed to his poor play.
“With all the traveling and short transition, two very tough matches yesterday and two days ago, I think the battery was empty today,” said Thiem who won Kitzbuhel on Sunday. “I was not on my 100 per cent. This is just not enough in a quarterfinals of a Masters 1000, especially against a guy like Daniil, who is in a great shape, is playing amazing tennis. I was not able to go the long rallies with him. That’s basically the only chance to beat him.”
Khachanov secured the all-countryman semi by dispatching a lackluster Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-3. Zverev, who won Montreal in 2017, continued with his doubles from yesterday early on, handing Khachanov a quick break.
Khachanov was aided by another double fault to go up 4-2 in the second, then held on for his first Top 10 win of the season.
“I think he didn’t play his best, of course. On the other side, I played a good match tactically, I played solid from the baseline,” Khachanov said. “Maybe he was missing a little bit more. That’s why he got frustrated.”
Khachanov beat Medvedev in Moscow last fall.
“Never easy to play against a friend from the same country. We grew up together. We played all the tournaments since 12 or 14,” Khachanov said. “We know each other pretty well. From one side it’s difficult, but from the other side both of us, we know what to expect, how we are playing completely different styles. [It should] be an interesting match.”
Khachanov is in his third Masters semifinal and he’s already been to a final winning in Paris back in November. Medvedev has never made a Masters final.
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