Fabio Fognini crushes Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters semis
Rafael Nadal crashed out to Fabio Fognini in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals on Saturday with the Spanish star admitting his 6-4, 6-2 loss was his "worst clay court match in 14 years".
The shock result leaves Italian 13th seed Fognini facing unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic in Sunday's unscripted final.
Fognini, who beat Nadal twice on clay in 2015, stopped a 25-set win streak in the principality for the World No 2.
It was his fourth career win over Nadal and third on clay. Fognini, cheered by thousands of compatriots on Centre Court, broke Nadal three times in a 55-minute opening set.
Nadal saved three match points while trailing a set and 5-0 as he broke Fognini in a last-gasp effort.
But the 13th seed would not be denied, earning another pair of chances in the eighth game and claiming victory with a forehand winner down the line.
Lajovic, ranked 48th, will be playing his first ATP final after seeing off Russian 10th seed Daniil Medvedev — the conqueror of Novak Djokovic — 7-5, 6-1.
That match was also played in distracting, swirling conditions, with Lajovic making a recovery from 5-1 down after changing strategy when Medvedev had the upper hand.
Lajovic ran off 10 straight games to claim the opening set in an hour and take a 4-0 lead in the second.