MADRID, Spain -- Fabio Fognini is one of Rafael Nadal's tough customers and today wasn't any different as Fognini pushed the four-time champion to three sets in the second round of Mutual Madrid on Wednesday.
Nadal prevailed 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4.
In the first set, the Spaniard found himself trailing as Fognini served for the set at 5-4, but Nadal stopped him, sending the set to the tiebreak. In the second, the Italian only needed one break to level the match. Nadal recovered in the third, and despite giving away his break, he was able to close it out.
Nadal is going for his 52nd clay court title and his third in 2017. This was his 11th straight win.
Next up for Nadal is Nick Kyrgios, who beat Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-3.
'He's a very difficult opponent," said Nadal about Kyrgios. "He's one of the most difficult players you can play. It's true that I think on clay he's a very, very tough player. But perhaps here he's a little bit less difficult to play.
"But here we have the altitude, and that makes him very complicated. He can be even more complicated than a hard court due to the altitude we have here," Nadal said.
Earlier on Wednesday, defending champion Novak Djokovic came from 0-3 in the third set to defeat Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
"It's tough to play Nico on any surface," said Djokovic. "Especially here where it's altitude, it played quicker a little bit. He loves playing on clay. He was obviously motivated. He has a lot of strength in his shots, a lot of precision. He can, from both corners, hit equally well.
"If he doesn't make many mistakes, he can really beat anyone. I could feel his very high quality, especially the end of the second set and the beginning of the third.
"But I hung in there and I knew that eventually I'm going to get my chances and going to get some looks on the second serves. When they're presented, you know, I was ready to use them, which I did," Djokovic said.