• Tired RAFAEL Nadal loses in Rio semis

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    Rafael Nadal AFP PHOTO

    Rafael Nadal AFP PHOTO

    RIO DE JANEIRO: After 52 straight semi-final claycourt wins stretching back 12 years, top seeded titleholder Rafael Nadal saw his streak end on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), exiting the Rio Open to Italian Fabio Fognini.

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    Fognini, who had lost his four previous meetings with the 14-time grand slam champion, won 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 to reach a Sunday (Monday in Manila) final against Spaniard David Ferrer.

    Second seed Ferrer reached the trophy match with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer.

    “I played well in the first set but lacked tactical and physical continuity thereafter,” said Nadal.

    “It was very humid out there and I got tired much quicker than normal. I started cramping as well—which is very unusual for me,” said the Spanish star.

    Nadal, who only came off court at 3:30 am after Friday night’s quarter-final win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, was visibly fatigued, allowing his early momentum to slip as he crashed out after 2hr 17 min.

    “I am very pleased as I played the best in the world on this surface. This is my best career win to date,” said 28th-ranked Fognini, seeded four at the event whose inaugural edition Nadal won last year.

    That success was a building block early in a clay season which would culminate in a ninth Roland Garros title, but a series of injuries thereafter hampered Nadal.

    AFP

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