Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Fognini into first Rome quarterfinal, but Nadal looms

Ricky Dimon in ATP 17 May 2018
  • Nadal vs Fognini is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 12:00pm local time/11:0am BST
  • Fognini has defeated Nadal twice on clay, but Nadal leads the head-to-head series 10-3
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during his match against Denis Shapovalov at the Internazionali BNL dItalia on May 17, 2018. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini will be squaring off for the 14th time in their careers and for the second time in Rome when they meet again on Friday.


Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 12:00pm local time/11:00am BST 
Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

This is shaping up to be a particularly satisfying run through the Internazionali BNL d'Italia draw for Rafael Nadal, and not just because is coming off a surprising quarterfinal loss in Madrid. Each of Nadal's first two opponents owned a previous win at his expense, and Friday's foe has defeated him on three occasions.

Damir Dzumhur got a retirement from from Nadal at the 2016 Miami Masters. The Bosnian was promptly erased 6-1, 6-0 on Wednesday. Denis Shapovalov stunned Nadal in a third-set tiebreaker at last summer's Montreal Masters. The 19-year-old Canadian got crushed 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday.

Now it is Fabio Fognini who awaits Nadal in the Rome quarterfinals. The Italian is 3-10 lifetime against the current world No. 2, a respectable mark relative to other players' standards. All three of Fognini's victories came in 2015, including two on clay (in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona). Nadal, however, has won five straight in the head-to-head series and is 10-1 in total sets during those five matches. They most recently faced each other last fall in Shanghai, where the 16-time Grand Slam champion cruised 6-3, 6-1.

ATP Rome Live Stream: Live tennis from the Foro Italico 

Rafael Nadal and Mohamed Lahyani. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Thursday's drubbing of Shapovalov could have been even more convincing, as Nadal surrendered a mere five points in eight service games and generated eight break-point chances in his first two return games--none of which he converted. Once the top seed finally seized a break at 3-3, it was all over for the underdog.

"It was a tough first set," Nadal said afterward. "I'm happy for the victory against a difficult opponent and looking forward to the quarterfinal. [Fognini] is a tough player and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Fognini has not always been tough in Rome, where he lost his first-ever encounter with Nadal 6-1, 6-3 in 2013. Prior to this week, the 30-year-old had been a modest 7-10 lifetime in Rome with no trips to the quarterfinals. He is finally through to the last eight following victories over Gael Monfils, Dominic Thiem, and Peter Gojowyczk.

"I'm happy," Fognini assured after disposing of Gojowyczk 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday. "It's difficult to play in your country. You have a lot of pressure inside and outside the court.... It's a great opportunity to play a quarterfinal for the first time in Rome. It's gonna be a great match. Everybody knows that Rafael is the best player on clay in history."

Unlike almost everyone else, the world No. 21 has at least managed to beat Nadal twice on this surface. But this is not the same Nadal that was on display in 2015. He is 15-1 on clay in 2018 with titles in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona preceding his Madrid loss to Thiem. Well-rested and supremely motivated on the heels of his recent setback, Nadal is likely to issue yet another beatdown of Fognini.



  • Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 12:00pm local time/11:00am BST
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Fognini into first Rome quarterfinal, but Nadal looms

Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini meet for the 14th time in the Rome Masters. Nadal has won five straight vs. Fognini. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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