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Wimbledon, the precedents between Nadal and the Italians in the Slams

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Wimbledon, the precedents between Nadal and the Italians in the Slams

The balance between Rafa and the Azzurri is 11 games won and only one defeat, with Fabio, in New York 2015

Lorenzo Sonego will be the eighth Italian tomorrow to challenge Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam tournaments. Before the Piedmontese he was the turn of Flavio Cipolla, Simone Bolelli, Fabio Fognini, Andreas Seppi, Matteo Berrettini, Stefano Travaglia and Jannik Sinner. The balance between the Majorcan and the Azzurri is 11 games won and only one defeat, the one suffered against Fabio Fognini at the 2015 United States Open when the Ligurian, in a third round match, was able to recover two sets from Rafa and beat it 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4. Fognini is one of the three players capable of recovering two sets behind Nadal: the others were Federer in the final in Miami 2005 (2-6 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-1) and Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals of the Open of Australia 2021 (3-6 2-6 7-6 6-4 7-5).

The challenges

Let’s now retrace all Rafa’s challenges against the Italians in the Grand Slam. The first challenge dates back to the 2nd round of Roland Garros 2007 when Nadal beats Flavio Cipolla 6-2 6-1 6-4: the Roman qualifier, at the time number 227 in the world, remains on the field for an hour and 53 minutes improvising difficult short and risky balls serve and volley. The second challenge takes place five years later when in the first round of Roland Garros 2012 Rafa overcomes Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-2 6-1: one hour and 58 minutes for the most severe score inflicted on an Italian player. The venue of the third challenge is still Roland Garros and the third round of 2013 when Nadal eliminates Fabio Fognini for 7-6 6-4 6-4: two hours and 45 minutes with the blue wasting a 4-2 lead in the first set and 8 out of 11 break points in a match apparently played at the same level as the Spaniard. The fourth, on the other hand, coincides with the Majorcan’s only defeat, which took place in the third round of Flushing Meadows 2015. Rafa leads 2 sets and a break (2-1), before the Ligurian’s recovery. Fabio closes with 154 points against his rival’s 152, 70 winners (30 for the Spaniard) and 57 free (18 for Rafa). The series of victories of the Spaniard resumes in the 2nd round of the United States Open 2016 with the victory over Andreas Seppi for 6-0 7-5 6-1: two hours and 17 minutes one-way under the new roof of the central Flushing Meadows. At Roland Garros 2018, first round, there is the victory over Simone Bolelli for 6-4 6-3 7-6: in the second set the blue misses the ball of 4-1, in the third set he is ahead 3-0 and then wastes 4 set points at the tie-break. At the 2019 United States Open Rafa faces and beats Matteo Berrettini in the semifinals for 7-6 6-4 6-1: two hours and 35 minutes, no break point won by Berrettini, but two wasted set points in the tie-break of the first set. At Roland Garros 2020, third round, and the Majorcan’s victory over Stefano Travaglia for 6-1 6-4 6-0: only five games left by the Spaniard, like five games collected by Bolelli in 2012. Still in that same tournament , but in the quarter-finals, Rafa eliminates Jannik Sinner by 7-6 6-4 6-1: two hours and 49 minutes with Sinner serving in vain for the first set at 6-5 and then is also ahead 3-1 in the according to. At the Australian Open 2021, third round, success over Fabio Fognini for 6-3 6-4 6-2: two hours and 16 minutes one-way with the Spaniard canceling four break points out of six. At Roland Garros 2021, this time in the round of 16, new challenge and new success on Jannik Sinner for 7-5 6-3 6-0: two hours and 17 minutes. Finally the last match in the semifinal at the Australian Open this year with the victory in four sets (6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3) over Matteo Berrettini: two hours and 55 minutes with the Italian who becomes the second, after Fognini, to snatch a set from Nadal.

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