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Continuing our Season In Review Series, ATPWorldTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2015. Today we feature Rafael Nadal vs. Fabio Fognini:
Rafael Nadal isn’t one to shy away from a rivalry. His confrontations with peers Novak Djokovic (46 matches), Roger Federer (34 matches) and Andy Murray (22 matches) are the stuff of tennis legend.
But there’s a new antagonist on the scene these days: Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
Nadal and Fognini faced each other just four times prior to 2015, Nadal emerging victorious on each and every occasion. But the foes would meet five times this year alone, Fognini reversing his fortunes with three victories, including a stunning come-from-behind 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 third-round shocker at the US Open, one in which he erased a seemingly irreversible two-sets-to-love deficit. The Italian’s first-ever win over Nadal came on clay in the Rio semi-finals, where the 28-year-old scored a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 upset. Fognini had the Spaniard’s number again on Nadal’s home clay in Barcelona, where he registered a 6-4, 7-6(6) Round of 16 victory.
“With Rafa, you have to risk. You have to attack him when you have the chance,” observed Fognini. “He's one of the best players in the world. So I know that I have to take risks with him.”
Nadal, 29, managed to stem the tide by dispatching Fognini in a tense Hamburg final, 7-5, 7-5, again on clay.
“He's a player with a great talent, with huge shots,” said Nadal. “He's a tough opponent for everybody when he's playing well, not only for me.”
Following his third-round loss in Flushing Meadows, the first time he had ever lost a Grand Slam match after winning the first two sets, Nadal upped his Fed Ex ATP Head2Head advantage over Fognini to 6-3 with a 7-5, 6-3 win in the Beijing semi-finals.
Nadal vs. Fognini: 2015 MeetingsEvent Surface Round
Score Rio de Janeiro
Clay SF Fognini 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 Barcelona Clay R16 Fognini 6-4, 7-6(6) Hamburg Clay F Nadal 7-5, 7-5
Hard R32 Fognini 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 Beijing Hard SF Nadal 7-5, 6-3
Sydney FC's supporter group The Cove has said FFA is not right to demand wrongly banned fans find new evidence to clear their names.
Relive the greatest Hot Shots of the year in this compilation featuring Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and other ATP World Tour stars.
Kenyan athletics has been caught up in controversy again, with the IAAF suspending three leading officials over corruption allegations.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are in line for the title of world's best footballer after being shortlisted for FIFA's Ballon d'Or award.
It's been a marvellous year of sport, and we want to know who was your top athlete of 2015. Vote for your top 10 in our poll.
Former New Zealand cricket all-rounder Chris Cairns is found not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice, ending a nine-week trial.
St Kilda defender Hugh Goddard was rushed to hospital after he collapsed during a Sunshine Coast training camp.
Steve Smith and Joe Root have dethroned AB de Villiers at the top of the International Cricket Council's Test batting rankings.
Mitchell Johnson is retired, Mitchell Starc is hurt and Josh Hazlewood is sore - leaving Australia's selectors with some work to do before the Hobart Test.
South Australia move into second spot on the Sheffield Shield table with an emphatic 302-run win over Tasmania at at Bellerive Oval.
Lance Franklin has confirmed that he will officially return to Sydney on Tuesday at the start of preseason training.
The Townsville Crocodiles terminate the contract of one of the NBL's most valuable players, Brian Conklin.
Despite the dark skies, thousands of people turned out to cheer on the cowboys in the Farley Brothers Charity Bull Ride in northern New South Wales.
Brisbane star Ben Hunt is looking forward to playing football again after moving on from his "heartbreaking" errors in the Broncos' NRL grand final loss to North Queensland.
A LOOK BACK
Dunlop Srixon World Challenge (Toyota, Japan): Seventh seed Yoshihito Nishioka capped a strong 2015 campaign with a dominant run in Toyota, capturing his second ATP Challenger Tour title 6-3, 6-4 over Alexander Kudryavtsev. The 20 year old is projected to rise to a career-high World No. 117 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, becoming the third-highest ranked Japanese behind only Kei Nishikori and Taro Daniel. Nishioka, who reached the quarter-finals at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Delray Beach and won his first Grand Slam match at the US Open, is the fourth different Japanese player to lift a trophy on the Challenger circuit this year (Daniel, Yuichi Sugita & Go Soeda).
Andria E Castel Del Monte Challenger (Andria, Italy): Ivan Dodig concluded his 2015 campaign in impressive fashion after reaching the doubles semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Croat needed a strong finish on the indoor hard courts of Andria to end the year in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and secure his place in the Australian Open main draw. He would run away with his third title in as many months and fifth overall on the Challenger circuit, downing Michael Berrer 6-2, 6-1 in 65 minutes on Sunday. In September, he won his first title in four years in St. Remy and a month later lifted the trophy in Brest. Projected to rise inside the Top 90, Dodig finishes with his sixth consecutive year-end Top 100 spot.
ATP Challenger Tour Finals (Sao Paulo, Brazil): Inigo Cervantes won his fourth title of the year, saving two match points to defeat Daniel Munoz-de la Nava in Sao Paulo. Read full report
That’s a wrap for the 2015 ATP Challenger Tour season. The circuit will be on a five-week hiatus before resuming with events in Argentina, Thailand, Australia and New Caledonia in January.
The West Indies see weaknesses in Australia's middle-order and believe they can exploit them in their upcoming three-Test series.
Grandstand head cricket commentator Jim Maxwell gives his player ratings following the historic day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval.
Eighteen-year-old Kade Stewart said his country upbringing will serve him well after being selected in the 2015 AFL rookie draft by Hawthorn Football Club.
The conduct of racehorse trainers Mark Kavanagh and Danny O'Brien has been labelled "embarrassing" on the opening day of a hearing into their treatment of horses with cobalt.