Beijing - Rafael Nadal insisted his row with Fabio Fognini was in the past on
Saturday, despite crackling tensions, as he downed his Italian nemesis
7-5, 6-3 to reach the China Open final.
Nadal denied an extra edge
to the match in Beijing, but his lukewarm handshake at the net and
apparent exchanges between his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, and Fognini
told a different story.
Fognini unleashed an angry tirade at Nadal
during a changeover at this year's Hamburg final, yelling "don't break
my balls" at the Spaniard and complaining about his slow play.
won the bad-tempered Hamburg final, but Fognini stunned the Spaniard in
last month's US Open third round, becoming only the fourth player to
beat him three times in the same season.
However Nadal, after
grinding past Fognini to set up a final against defending champion Novak
Djokovic or David Ferrer, denied any lingering bad blood with the world
"No rivalry at all. No, no, no. I don't know what's
going on, seriously," Nadal told reporters. "We had the issue that we
had in Hamburg, and that's it. No problems.
"At the US Open no
problems. No problems today. Very easy match in terms of attitude for
both of us. No problem at all. Very, very easy I think for the umpire."
also said the Hamburg row was in the past but he indicated ill-feeling
may remain against Nadal's team and in particular his uncle Toni, who
was seen angrily gesticulating courtside on Saturday.
happened in Hamburg is past, for sure. But I have nothing to say (to
Nadal). I have all respect with him outside and inside the court,"
"I was telling another time, the history (argument)
was not against him, but against his team, especially the uncle. But is
something that is really far away.
"If I have to do something, I do it in the moment. If I do it wrong, I say, 'Sorry'. If I'm right, I'm right, and that's it."
a chilly, breezy day, both players started unconvincingly, suffering
two breaks of serve each in the opening games with Nadal also sending
down three double-faults.
They steadied to take it to 6-5 for
Nadal but Fognini wobbled as he served to stay in the set, wilting in
the rallies as he finally gave up the decisive break and smashed the
ball into the stands in anger.
The second set was attritional
until Nadal leapt ahead with a break for 4-2, and the suddenly
invigorated Spaniard won the next game to love to stand on the brink of
Fognini saved two match points before holding serve in a
gripping eighth game, but by now the Nadal juggernaut was fully in
motion and he ploughed across the line in the next game.
women's semis, Timea Bacsinszky upset Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, a
result which will push her into the women's top 10 but dented her
Serbian rival's hopes of qualifying for the year-ending WTA Finals.
12th-seeded Swiss will next play Spain's Garbine Muguruza, who beat
Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach her second straight final
after she retired from last week's Wuhan title match.