New York | Nadal survives Fognini challenge

As if he hadn’t experienced enough injury problems over the years, Rafa Nadal found himself nursing a self-inflicted bloody nose during his second-round clash with old rival Fabio Fognini, the flamboyant Italian who arrived on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court full of confidence.

Little bit dizzy in the beginning, a little bit painful Rafa Nadal

That confidence showed early in the contest as he stormed through the opening set but the second seed from Spain, recovered to level and quickly establish himself as the master of the court until his unfortunate incident occurred.

Leading 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-0, the four-time US Open champion, whilst moving to his right and striking a backhand, his racket somehow deflected off the ground and struck him on the bridge of the nose.

Nadal immediately dropped his racket and quickly drew his hands to cover his face before going to his chair.

Rafael Nadal applies the 'cold' treatment to his nose

Frey/TPN/Getty Images

He required treatment and lay himself down placing a cold water bottle on his nose to prevent the injury getting worse and after five-minutes the cut was duly plastered and play resumed.

Nadal then promptly lost the next six points but once he got his bearings normal service was resumed and he romped into the third round 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 where he will face another veteran player, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who overcame Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-4. He has yet to lose to the Frenchman having beaten him in all their previous 17th meetings.

The win was Nadal’s 14th against only 4 losses to the Italian. It was also his 21st major match win of the season as he remains undefeated in the Grand Slam he has played (he missed Wimbledon with an abdominal tear).

“Little bit dizzy in the beginning, a little bit painful,” Nadal said of the injury later.

Commenting on his slow start to the match when he trailed by a set and 4-2, he added: “Try to play a little bit better.

“I had to start to feel myself a little bit on the court. For more than one hour and a half I was not competing. One of my worst starts ever.”

“It’s another opportunity. Still alive after a match like this means a lot.”

“I was able to get lucky that Fabio made some mistakes in the second set.”

Carlos Alcaraz shakes hands with Federico Coria following his win over the Argentine

Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Meanwhile Carls Alcaraz continued to make his mark as Nadal’s heir apparent over the coming years.

The teenager rolled past Federico Coria 6-2 6-1 7-5 for his 46th win of the season.

Alcaraz was up a break in the third before Coria, the 30-year-old younger brother of clay great Guillermo Coria, raised his game to hold set points for the set only for Alcaraz to storm back and post a 6-2 6-1 7-5 victory.

Up next for the Spaniard in a possible good dust-up with another fast-rising star, American 21-year-old Jenson Brooksby who saved seven set points in the second to beat the Croatian Cincinnati winner Borna Coric 6-4 7-6(10) 6-1.

Another Croatian fared better, namely the former champion Marin Cilic who eased into the third round eventually charging past Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 7-6(4) 6-3 where he will face Britain’s Dan Evans who dropped his first set of the week when dispatching Australia’s James Duckworth 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4.

Italy’s Jannik Sinner was another winner topping Chris Eubanks, an American qualifier, 6-4 7-6(8) 6-2 and will now meet a second American in Brandon Nakashima who upset Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5) 7-5 6-3.

Other winners on Day 4 include Andrey Rublev and Ilya Ivashak, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe as well as Diego Schwartzman and Holger Rune who received a walk over from John Isner after picking up a fractured wrist.



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