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Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal - Nadal to KO Fognini in 5-set Thriller

  • Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal predictions for Monday’s Australian Open 4th round match
  • This is the 16th meeting between Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal
  • Nadal leads head-to-head 12-4
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Fabio Fognini
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Dan Hunter 15 Feb 2021
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Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal Tips 

Second-seed Rafael Nadal of Spain takes on the 16th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini in the fourth round of the 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday, February 15. 

I’m picking Nadal and Fognini to engage in a classic five-setter, similar to their epic encounter in New York in 2015. My reasoning is that I’m not convinced that Rafa is as sharp as he has been in other years at the Australian Open at this stage of the tournament. Meanwhile Fognini is hitting the ball as sweetly as ever. 

Nadal, like many great players, sometimes needs a hard five setter-to get themselves match fit and fine-tune their game, and I’m seeing his meeting with Fognini as that match. 

Like many Italian sportsmen, Fabio isn’t lacking when it comes to ego and self belief. He believes he can beat Nadal, and he has the evidence of four such victories to back up that belief. And while I’m still picking Nadal to win, a cheeky fiver on a Fognini win might be worth doing.

  • Nadal is chasing his 2nd Australian Open
  • Nadal last won in Melbourne in 2009
  • Fognini has beaten Nadal 4 times 
  • Fognini & Nadal are 1-1 in matches during slams

Head to Head 

Fabio Fognini and Rafael Nadal have played each other 16 times with Rafa leading their head to head 12-4. Surprisingly, these two have only faced off twice in slams, the first time back in 2013 at the French Open where Nadal won in straight sets. 

The second occasion was also the scene of the best match they’ve played, and one of the most exciting matches seen at the US Open in recent years. 

In 2015 Fognini came back from 2 sets down to play three sets of the most sublime tennis to upset Nadal. The Italian was untouchable that night under the floodlights, hitting a steady stream of winners from all angles imaginable, much to the appreciation of the New York crowd. 

Fabio Fognini Form

20 year ago, in most instances when a tennis player hit his 30s it was time to retire, a la Becker, Edberg, Haas, Rafter etc. However, over the past decade athletes across the board have been enjoying longer careers, and boxers, football players and tennis stars are competing at the same level as they were in their 20s. 

Some find they even improve, and that seems to be the case with Fognini, who finally cracked the world’s top ten at 31, and is showing no signs of slowing down. 

He began his campaign in Melbourne with a straights sets win, and was then taken the distance by fellow Italian Salvatore Caruso, winning a 5th set tiebreak 14-12. The two Italians were subsequently involved in a heated argument and had to be separated by an official before they turned to fisticuffs.

Rafael Nadal Form

34-year old Nadal is yet to drop a set after breezing through his first three matches. British no.3 Cameron Norrie took Rafa to a respectable 7-5 6-2 7-5 in the third round, but Nadal looked slightly sub-par in that match, and may still be troubled by the back issue he mentioned at the start of the tournament. 

Nadal stated that a back strain was restricting his service power. In recent years the Nadal serve has gone from steady and reliable to a genuine weapon, winning him plenty of quick points.
Nadal is also looking a few kilos heavier than he was in 2019. However, he had the same chunky appearance at Roland Garros last year, and he won the tournament without dropping a set, recording one of his best ever wins over Djokovic in the final. 

Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal FAQ

When is the Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal match taking place?

Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal takes place at 3.00 PM (AEDT) on Monday, February 15

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Our live streaming calendar shows you where you can watch a Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal live stream



Fognini is very capable of winning this match, and if Rafa is not on his A-game and the Italian is, it will be Fognini who goes through to only his second slam quarterfinal. That said, I’m assuming that Nadal will be fully focused on the job at hand; he doesn’t particularly like Fognini (the feeling is mutual) and is well aware of what the Italian is capable of.
Nadal wins in five sets, with Fognini playing catch-up but Rafa winning the fifth in a canter.
Best Bet: 5 Sets Total Sets @400.00 at BetMGM - 1 Unit
Value Bet: Nadal 3-2 Set Betting @600.00 at Caesars (Sport) - 1 Unit
Best Bet: Nadal Most Double Faults @163.00 at PlaySugarhouse Sport - 1 Unit
Risky Bet: Fognini Winner @275.00 at bet365 Sport NJ - 1 Unit

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Fabio Fognini v Rafael Nadal