Rafael Nadal Passes Jimmy Connors in Another Incredible Record Led by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

Published 02/15/2021, 3:01 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his fourth round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Kelly Defina


The 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal took on tricky opponent Fabio Fognini in the fourth round of the Australian Open 2021.

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Both players have played each other 16 times prior to their meeting today, with the Spaniard leading the tie 12 wins and four losses. However, in their 17th meeting today, it was the Spaniard who came on top and won the match 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. 

In the opening set of the match, Rafa began strongly holding his service game and broke the Italian in the very next game. Within no time, Nadal raced to a 3-0 lead.

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Interestingly, both players exchanged breaks in the next couple of games but had no effect as the Spaniard was sailing comfortably at 5-2.  

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal after winning his fourth round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Fabio Fognini’s weak serve gave Rafael Nadal the upper hand

After 46 minutes into the match, Nadal won the set 6-3, after Fognini was forced to commit an error on his forehand. During the set, Fabio committed way too many errors and was unable to win a majority of the points on his second serve, which gave Rafa the upper hand in the first set. 

In the sixth game of the second set, Fognini got the first break and held serve in the next game, taking command of the set at 4-2.

Similar to the previous set, Rafa broke him in the next two service games, putting himself in a position to take two sets advantage in the match. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal during his fourth round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Yet again, Fabio wasn’t able to win most of his second service points, managing to win only 31% of them. His 15 unforced errors added to his woes as the Italian lost the second set 6-4.

Nadal was just one set away from booking a spot in the quarterfinal. During the set, Rafa broke the Italian player twice to put himself in the driver’s seat of the match.

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After 2 hours and 16 minutes, the Spaniard sealed the set with an ace, winning the set 6-2, and moved into the quarterfinal of the Australian Open 2021

After Nadal won today, it took him over Jimmy Connors in most matches won on hard courts. Connors won 489 matches, and with this win today, Rafa moved one ahead on 490 wins. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the ony players who stand between Rafa and the top of this coveted list. 

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DIVE DEEPER

Novak Djokovic Says He Would Have Withdrawn From Australian Open 2021 if it Wasn’t a Grand Slam

3 months ago

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Rohan Kollare

616 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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