Nadal survives bizarre racket mishap and bloody nose, battles past Fognini to keep undefeated Grand Slam streak intact

Four-time champion Rafael Nadal overcame Fabio Fognini and an unfortunate incident with his racket, to advance to the third round at the 2022 US Open on Thursday night.

The Spaniard recorded a 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 victory over his Italian opponent, shaking off a slow start to power through the match. Fognini shocked the crowd into silence after dominating the first set, as the Italian veteran displayed his trademark shots by taking the ball early and on the rise. With Nadal looking vulnerable, Fognini quickly clinched the opening set.

Things were looking bad for the former World No.1 as Fognini obtained another break at the start of the second to lead 4-2, but Nadal soon broke back. The 22-time Grand Slam champion worked his way into form, as he broke his opponent a second time to level the match at a set apiece.

With momentum finally on his side, the Mallorcan raced through the third as Fognini began to fade away. The World No.60 was unable to keep up with the furious offense coming from the other side of the net, and began to run out of gas as Nadal stormed through the third set.

The writing was on the wall for the Italian as Nadal raced to a 3-0 lead in the fourth, until a strange event occurred on court. After hitting a low backhand, Nadal's racket struck the ground and somehow ricocheted to hit the Spaniard on his nose. This stunned the 36-year old, and play was suspended as Nadal received a medical timeout. After a brief break, the World No.3 regained his composure, before closing out the match after two hours and 42 minutes.

Awaiting Nadal in the third round is Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who has never won a match against the 2022 Australian and French Open champion in 17 career meetings.

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