London: Rafael Nadal remained one win away from securing his first hard-court title in almost two years after defeating his new Italian nemesis Fabio Fognini to reach the China Open final on Saturday. The 14-time Grand Slam champion claimed a 7-5, 6-3 win over Fognini to set up the summit clash against either world number one Novak Djokovic or David Ferrer.
Fognini became the first man to beat Nadal from two sets to love down at a grand slam which stunned the Spaniard in the in the third round of the US Open, the Guardian reported. In addition, Fognini had defeated Nadal two more times this year.
Nadal, who has dropped to eighth in the rankings following a slump in form, is aiming to book a place at the end of season ATP Finals in London next month.