Rafael Nadal takes a perfect 20-0 Grand Slam winning streak in 2022 into Day Four at the US Open, where he will take on Italian veteran Fabio Fognini, who stunned the Spaniard inside Arthur Ashe stadium seven years ago. Nadal continues his pursuit of the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Rankings Thursday, as does his 19-year-old countryman Carlos Alcaraz.
ATPTour.com looks at five things to watch on Day Four at Flushing Meadows.
1) Rafa Aims To Avenge 2015 US Open Loss To Fognini:
Rafael Nadal, who won his opening match in four sets against Australian Rinky Hijikata, has lost only twice in Grand Slams from two sets to love up. Fabio Fognini made history at the 2015 US Open, when he became the first to accomplish the rare comeback (Tsitsipas accomplished the same feat at ‘21 Australian Open). The 22-time major champion will be determined to avoid any similar history making feats by the Italian, who came from two sets down Tuesday in the opening round.
Despite that loss seven-years ago, Nadal has won eight of his past nine meetings with Fognini, and leads the ATP Head2Head 13-4. The four-time US Open titlist is the current No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and is chasing his third major crown of 2022 in just his second tournament back from suffering an abdominal injury at Wimbledon.
“Things are not perfect when you are not competing very often,” Nadal said. “When you come back from injury. You need to be humble enough to go through this process and accept that you need to fight and you need to accept that you are going to suffer.”
Victory will see Nadal become the firs singles player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be played 13-20 November in Turin, Italy. Nadal is also looking to break a tie with John McEnroe on 65 match wins at the US Open to move into outright seventh place on the men’s match-wins leaders board at Flushing Meadows.
Fognini completed his record-equalling 10th comeback from two sets to love down Tuesday, when he defeated Aslan Karatsev to advance to the second round. The 35-year-old celebrated his 400th tour-level win this past month in Hamburg and will now look for his first victory over a Top-10 player since he beat Nadal in Monte Carlo in 2019.
2) Three Seeded Players Meet Home Favourites:
When players go toe-to-toe against Americans in New York, they often have a second opponent: the home crowd. Grigor Dimitrov, seeded 17th, is among four seeded players facing Americans Thursday. He will tackle #NextGenATP Brandon Nakashima. The Bulgarian won their only meeting in Rome earlier this season.
World No. 13 Jannik Sinner meets Christopher Eubanks, who advanced through qualifying and claimed his maiden Grand Slam main-draw win on Tuesday. Cincinnati champion Borna Coric, seeded 25th, will expect lengthy rallies as he goes against Jenson Brooksby, who reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year. Frances Tiafoe rounds out the home hopes in action Thursday, when he takes on Australian Jason Kubler.
3) Alcaraz Continues Quest For Maiden Slam & World No. 1:
Carlos Alcaraz’s rise up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this year has been a storyline to the 2022 season. This fortnight, he has a chance to climb to the top spot. Should the Spaniard make it as far as the final in New York, the 19-year-old will have a chance of becoming the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on 12 September.
Alcaraz goes head-to-head with Argentine Federico Coria Thursday, their second meeting. Coria needed three sets to win in Rio de Janeiro in 2020. Should Alcaraz advance, he would tie Stefanos Tsitsipas for a season record 46 wins.
4)Top-10 Seeds Norrie, Hurkacz, Rublev In Action:
Cameron Norrie, who boasts 42 wins this season, aims to build on his comfortable win against Benoit Paire when he meets Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round. Hubert Hurkacz, fresh off a straight-sets victory, hopes to continue his summer hard-court success when he goes against Ilya Ivashka.
Andrey Rublev, who needed five sets to get through his opening round match against Laslo Djere, meets Soonwoo Kwon for the fourth-time this season (Rublev 3-0).
5) #NextGenATP Star Musetti Sets Sights On Third Round:
Lorenzo Musetti, 20, battled through a first-round match against David Goffin, triumphing in a fifth-set tie-break. Musetti encounters Dutchman Gijs Brouwer, who advanced through qualifying and earned his maiden Grand Slam victory Tuesday over Winston-Salem champion Adrian Mannarino.
Musetti, who reached the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2021, attempts to surpass last year’s result at Flushing Meadows, where he was ousted in the second round by Reilly Opelka.