Tallahassee Journal

Unbelievable match point snaps Rafael Nadal’s 12-year winning streak

Unbelievable match point snaps Rafael Nadal’s 12-year winning streak

Rafael Nadal hadn’t lost a clay-court semifinal in a dozen years — a streak of 52-straight matches. So, naturally, it took an unbelievable, you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it match point to end Rafa’s semifinal dominance._81160465_nadal_ap2

Just 16 hours after leaving the court following a 3:21 a.m. finish on Saturday morning, a cramping Nadal was serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the third against Fabio Fognini. The Italian had his own marathon quarterfinal that also ended on Saturday morning, but he waled off the court just before 1 a.m. — not as late as Nadal, but after a match that was certainly more grueling.

With Nadal physically compromised on Saturday evening, Fognini kept pushing him deep on his third match point and forced the world No. 3 and clay-court virtuoso into a weak backhand that clipped the tape. The ball fell to the court, then just hung up, as if the clay was a magnet keeping it afloat. Fognini took six steps and a slide to stab at the ball, sending it crosscourt to break one of Nadal’s most amazing clay streaks.

Though the inclination is to call Fognini lucky for the ball staying up for so long, Nadal was fortunate the ball got the tape, as it was clearly sailing out. Nadal last lost a clay semifinal on July 21, 2003, when he was a 17-year-old ranked No. 58 and playing world No. 4 Carlos Moya. Since then, he won 52 straight, including in nine French Opens and 25 Masters 1000 events.

Calendar

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930