Rafa Nadal suffered a shock 6-4 6-2 semi-final defeat against flamboyant Italian Fabio Fognini at the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday, showing rare signs of weakness five weeks before the French Open.
The 11-time champion's loss ended a series of 25 consecutive sets won on his favourite clay as Fognini set up a final showdown against Serbian Dusan Lajovic.
Rafael Nadal of Spain waves goodbye to the crowd after his straight sets defeat by Fabio Fognini of Italy in their semifinal match during day seven of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters at Monte-Carlo Country Club on April 20, 2019 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.Getty Images
In windy conditions at the Monte Carlo Country Club, the 11-time French Open champion was overwhelmed by Fognini, who entered centre court with all guns blazing.
Fognini's unpredictability, added to that of the weather conditions, were eventually too much for the Spanish world number two who bowed out on the fourth match point.
It was world number 18 Fognini's fourth career win against Nadal in 15 encounters, the third on the slowest surface. Earlier, Lajovic reached his first Masters final when he mastered the windy conditions to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-1.
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