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US Open 2022: Rafael Nadal vs. Fabio Fognini Tennis Pick and Prediction

TennisSection previews the 2022 US Open as Rafael Nadal takes on Fabio Fognini in the second round on Thursday, September 1st, 2022.

Rafael Nadal will renew his rivalry with Italy’s Fabio Fognini in a blockbuster second-round match at the US Open. The last time the pair contested a match at Flushing Meadows it was an instant classic. Are we in for the same on Thursday night? Let us take a closer look at our match preview in detail.

The US Open is the most successful Grand Slam in Rafael Nadal’s storied career outside his beloved French Open. Nadal has walked away with the prize pot from New York four times and has a genuine chance of tying the record holders this fortnight by winning his fifth title. His campaign got off to a great start as he defeated Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata in four sets in the first round. And the extra incentive for Nadal bar playing for the trophy, is that he could end the week as World No.1 as he doesn’t defend any ranking points at the tournament.

Fabio Fognini, meanwhile, came through a grueling battle against Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday. The enigmatic Italian rallied from two sets to love down to win a match for the eighth time in his career. Even at 35, Fognini’s will to win has been understated at times. His level improved markedly after going down 1-6 5-7 to the hard-hitting Karatsev. He began to serve more efficiently and his mistimed shots earlier in the match were starting to find the lines. It was more of Fognini solving his way out of trouble rather than Karatsev capitulating.

Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini have played 17 times, with Nadal leading the head-to-head 13-4. As lopsided as this rivalry looks by the numbers, Fognini has actually been super pumped when taking on the legendary Spaniard. And all four victories by the Italian have come under the unlikeliest of circumstances. His US Open victory over Nadal in 2015 was reminiscent to a fantasy story as was his Monte Carlo win in 2019. However, the version of Nadal in those matches hardly bore any resemblance to his greatness, with the Spaniard labeling his Monte Carlo loss to Fognini one of the worst matches of his career. I am still unsure with Nadal’s physical wellbeing, but I was generally impressed with his movement and resilience in the win over Hijikata. Fognini might have a shout or two, but Rafa should wear him down in four.

Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Rafael Nadal in 4 Sets.

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