(September 4, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –
Spectators got more than they bargained for during the night session of the US Open on Friday. Rafael Nadal lost and Serena Williams was forced to come back again to keep her hopes of a Grand Slam alive. The action lasted until 1:30 Saturday morning.
No. 8 Nadal came into the third round never losing a Grand Slam match when taking a two-set lead until he was beaten 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 by the 32nd seed Fabio Fognini. Nadal led by two-sets and a break of serve before the Italian’s comeback began.
“He play great,” Nadal said. “It was not a match that I lost, even if I had opportunities. It’s a match that he wins.
“So accept. Not happy that he played better than me, but that’s what happened. He played better than me, no? I didn’t play bad at all. I played a normal match, but not enough.
“So not happy with that. But accept that he was better than me today.”
“Well, I was starting to feel the ball really good, believe me,” Fognini said. “I lost that first set 6-3, but I was say in my mind, Okay, let’s try, let’s keeping working; do your tennis.
“I went down a break. After come back on 4-4, I went 40-Love on that game and I lost incredible game. So was my fault. Even if I come back from break down, I was say, Okay, let’s try. But two sets to zero against Rafa, maybe you have to go to Lourdes.
“I went there tonight and everything was in a perfect way.”
The loss ended the Spaniard’s 10 year run of winning at least one major.
“No, the only thing that means is I played worse than the last 10 years,” Nadal said. That’s the real thing.
“By the way, for me was amazing win 10 years in a row Grand Slam. I think nobody did. You can imagine how difficult is make that happen.
“Accept that was not my year and keep fighting till the end of the season to finish in a positive way for me. Finish the season with the feeling that I improved something from the beginning of the season. That’s something that I think I am doing.
“I think I have a good base now. As I said, good thing is I am not playing terrible matches like I did at the beginning of the season. When I am losing, I am losing because the opponents beat me, not because I lose the match, as I did a lot of times at the beginning of the season.
“That’s an improvement for me, so I have a base now. That is a start. I know what I have to do and I going to work on it.”
“I start really bad the season,” said the Italian. “I was starting really bad at the beginning in Australia. I play well on clay on the second month of the year. I play really bad another time on Indian Wells and Miami.
“But, you know, I was saying the first day that I came here, after play again really good on clay with the final against Rafa and two quarterfinal, I was feeling really well. I been playing really good, feeling on court really well.
“I play only two matches, that’s true. I play Monfils and I play Kokkinakis, but in two different way, for sure.
“For sure with Kokkinakis I play high level, even if I lost. With Monfils I play really good the first set, 0-6, breakpoint won. Second set I was really tired because I was coming directly to Europe.
“After Cincinnati I take two day off, recovery, start practice really hard four, five day of the week. I’m here for the first time in the fourth round.”
This will be the first-ever appearance in the round of 16 at the US Open for Fognini.
Before Nadal took the court, Serena Williams had to come back from a set down again to defeat American countrywoman wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 7-5, 6-0, winning the last 8 games. She has now gone 24-0 in majors this year.
“Getting out of it so many times definitely helps me,” Williams said. “It’s definitely not something I want to do, though. But, hey, a win’s a win, I guess.”
“Just know usually when I’m down, I mean, I feel like if I’m not playing well, I know I can take it to another level. But if I’m down and I’m playing well, then I probably won’t win.
“But usually, you know, I know that I can play better. I just try to tap into the energy and I try to play better.”
Williams is looking to become the first woman since Steffi Graff in 1988 to win the Grand Slam. She is just four victories away from achieving history and winning her 22nd major.
“I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been on this train. I love metaphors. I’ve never been on this train. It’s different. It’s definitely different.”
Singles – Third Round
 Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def.  Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3, 7-5
 Venus Williams (USA) def.  Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 6-4
 Serena Williams (USA) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-0
 Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) def. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) def. Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-2, 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Madison Brengle (USA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
 Madison Keys (USA) def.  Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-3, 6-2
Roberta Vinci (ITA) def. Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
Singles – Third Round
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) d.  Andreas Seppi (ITA) 63 75 75
 Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(5) 76(1) 63 67(3) 61
 Fabio Fognini (ITA) d.  Rafael Nadal (ESP) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
 Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d.  Milos Raonic (CAN) 62 76(4) 63
 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d.  David Goffin (BEL) 26 57 63 31 ret.
 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 75 62
Benoit Paire (FRA) d.  Tommy Robredo (ESP) 76(3) 61 61