On Thursday, Rafa Nadal defeated Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 to go to the third round of the U.S. Open despite a terrible start and a bloodied nose.
The chance of an upset similar to the one Fognini famously pulled off against the Spaniard at Arthur Ashe Stadium seven years ago increased when the seasoned Italian came out firing to build a set and a 4-2 lead as Nadal struggled to find his groove.
When Nadal raced down an overhead and crushed a forehand down the line to break Fognini and take a 4-2 lead in the third set, the momentum changed in his favour.
While leading 3-0 in the fourth set when his racket rebounded off the court and smacked him sharply on the bridge of his nose, he appeared to be cruising to victory after breaking the fading Fognini once more.
The nasty match, in which the players combined for 15 service breaks and 11 double faults, was put to an end when Nadal recovered and, assisted by the fanatical crowd, secured the victory on Fognini's 60th unforced error.
In an on-court interview, Nadal remarked, "I was not competing for more than one and a half hours; it was one of my poorest beginnings ever." "You must maintain optimism and patience when this occurs, hopefully infrequently. The game is lengthy."
Nadal triumphed to exact revenge for his defeat against Fognini at the 2015 U.S. Open, when the Italian rallied from a set and a break down. In total, Nadal has defeated Fognini 14-4.