Rafa Nadal overcame a horrible start and a bloody nose to beat Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 to reach the third round of the US Open on Thursday.
The Italian veteran came out in force to clinch a set and a 4-2 lead as Nadal struggled to find his rhythm, raising the possibility that Fognini could surprise again as he memorably did against the Spaniard at Arthur Ashe Stadium earlier this year. seven years.
Nadal regained control and seemed close to victory when, while leading 3-0 in the fourth set, his racket bounced off the ground and hit him in the nose.
This prompted a medical time-out in which the 22-time Grand Slam champion lay on his back with his eyes closed as a pink bandage was applied to stop the bleeding.
Nadal overcame and with the support of the crowd sealed victory on Fognini’s 60th unforced error to end the ugly match in which the players combined 15 break points and 11 double faults.
“For over an hour and a half I wasn’t competing. It was probably one of my worst starts, but it’s part of the game,” Nadal said in an on-court interview.
“You have to accept the situation. It hasn’t been easy months for me and these things can happen. Staying alive after a game like this means a lot.”
Nadal’s next opponent is Richard Gasquet, who defeated Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-4 earlier in the day.
Nadal has an 18-0 record against the Frenchman.