NEW YORK: A bruised and bloodied Rafael Nadal overcame an injury scare to storm into the third round of the US Open. The Spaniard knocked out Italy's Fabio Fognini in a stunning four-set match 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.
Chasing his record 23rd Grand Slam, the French Open champion sailed through the match despite losing the first set and injuring himself Nadal in a freak accident where he hit himself with his own racquet.
In the fourth set Nadal reached for a wide backhand and was cruising for an easy victory when the Spaniard's racquet struck the bridge of his nose as it rebounded off the court, drawing blood instantly and forcing him to return to the sidelines where he lay on his back.
The tennis ace said he was in pain and felt a bit dizzy after being hit on the nose. ATP quoted Nadal as saying, "A little bit dizzy, a little bit painful", on his accident during the match.
After a short while of the medical time out the 36-year-old returned to court sporting a bandage on his nose. Meanwhile, facing his longtime rival, Nadal looked out of rhythm in the first set, resulting in Fognini taking the first set. Little did the Italian know that Nadal would absolutely dominate the following three sets.
The former World Number One drastically cut down on his errors and returned in an emphatic manner to prevail in the second set. Thereafter the match's momentum completely changed and Spanish star got a chance to slip back into the game after the Italian started committing errors.
Sixty unforced errors by the former Top 10 led to his downfall. After levelling the match with 17 of the second set's final 21 points, Nadal swept the next two sets to win the match.
A short while later, Nadal returned to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court to complete the 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 victory.
On Saturday, the Spaniard will take on Richard Gasquet, a former World Number seven.