Record 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has shared a positive update on his back after beating Fabio Fognini in the Australian Open round-of-16 on Monday. Nadal, seeded at No. 2, has been hampered by a back issue since arriving to Australia but on Monday he outclassed 2020 Monte Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinal at Melbourne Park.
Nadal, who was scheduled to play for Spain at the ATP Cup, ended up skipping each tie his nation played at the event. Nadal started his campaign at the Australian Open with a few straight-set wins after the matches he noted that his back was still giving him issues and forcing to make some changes to his game.
Nadal stormed past Fognini
Nadal, who captured his lone Australian Open title in 2009, broke Fognini twice and lost his serve in each of the opening two sets. "I played first set without a doubt, it has been my best level in the tournament.
Yeah, well, it's normal, too, because I was able to practice for two days in a row,'' Nadal said in his press conference after beating Fognini, per Tennis Majors. ''That makes an important difference. But at the same time it's important to find positive feelings now.
My physical condition needs to keep improving. I was not able to practice the proper way for the last 19 days, but yesterday I started again to increase the amount of work.' ' In the third set, Nadal broke the Italian twice to seal a straight-set win.
Nadal will be battling against Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the Australian Open semifinal. 'I'm excited about playing that quarterfinals match. If we compare how I was five days ago and how I am today's situation, it's different, and my perspective and excitement is completely different, too,'' Nadal added, per Ravi Ubha.