Rafael Nadal overcomes Fabio Fognini in four sets in US Open second round (AFP)
“We had a bad serve-volley game, and that’s what I did at his backhand, he missed his serve point and then I was going for forehand, and he was hitting the backhand so it was hard to keep the ball down, and he hit it so deep. I went for a forehand and he started to serve, and so I had to hit a winner, and I did. I was just happy to have served it out.”
Federer said it was also a crucial point for him following the loss of a match against Nadal earlier in the day.
“It’s obviously crucial to win on the first set to go through, then the second set after that (Nadal’s win over Federer) is important. So yeah, I think on court four, four, two, three, my chances of winning the match are much higher than if we were to lose on court four.”
Nadal’s serve went into the net against Federer, who is seeking his third straight title at the US Open, while his first-serve percentage also saw him improve on his season average.
Federer is aiming to win his second Grand Slam title at 18 months and fifth overall at SW19. He will next face Djokovic in the last eight.
Nadal: ‘I can get better if I have to’
Nadal also had a positive reaction after his win over Federer, who said: “He could have handled that, like a lot guys could have done. It was probably his best match he’s played in three years. He’s a good player, yes.”
Nadal admitted he had had to battle physically to progress a match in the fourth set, with his serve and return coming under strain to ensure he made the semi-final.
He added: “The difference was that I could hear my coach again, just talking to me, saying that I should try to be more