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Rafael Nadal Leaves Himself Bloodied In Bizarre US Open 2022 Accident - WATCH

Rafael Nadal hits himself on the nose in a bizarre manner during his US Open 2022, second-round win against Fabio Fognini.

Rafael Nadal was moving to his right when he hit a backhand. After making contact with the ball, his racket deflected off the ground and smacked him on the nose.
Rafael Nadal was moving to his right when he hit a backhand. After making contact with the ball, his racket deflected off the ground and smacked him on the nose. Composite: Screengrabs

Rafael Nadal cut himself on the bridge of his nose with his own racket when it ricocheted off the court on the follow-through from a shot, leaving himself bloodied and dizzy during his second-round victory at the U.S. Open. (More Tennis News)

Play was delayed for about five minutes during a medical timeout in the fourth set of what would become a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 win against Fabio Fognini at Arthur Ashe Stadium in a match that began Thursday night and finished after midnight on Friday.

It made for a bizarre, and briefly scary, scene, as Nadal immediately grimaced, dropped his racket, put a palm to his face and then put both hands on his head. At least Nadal could joke about it afterward during his on-court interview.

 Asked whether he'd ever had that happen before, he mustered a chuckle and replied: "With a golf club but not with a tennis racket."

How was he feeling?

"Well, just a little bit dizzy at the beginning," said Nadal, who has won four of his 22 Grand Slam titles at the U.S. Open, most recently in 2019, the last time he entered the hard-court tournament.

"A little bit painful."

The episode came on the first point of the game with Nadal leading 3-0 in the fourth set and clearly in command after ceding the opening set for the second match in a row this week.

The 36-year-old from Spain was moving to his right when he hit a backhand. After making contact with the ball, his racket deflected off the ground and smacked him on the nose.

He went over to the sideline and layed down, waiting for the trainer, and Fognini went over to check on Nadal. After having a bandage put on his nose, Nadal resumed play. He would lose that game, but not another, improving to 21-0 in Grand Slam matches in 2022.

Nadal won the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June for his 14th title there, then made it to the Wimbledon semifinals in July before the abdominal issue forced him to withdraw (which does not go into the books as a loss).

The match against Fognini, who beat him at the 2015 U.S. Open, did not begin auspiciously for Nadal. His shots were off and he quickly fell behind.

“For more than one hour and a half, I was not competing,” Nadal said. “One of the worst starts, probably, ever.”

The second set was hardly a thing of beauty for either man, filled with poor play by both: They combined for 39 unforced errors and merely nine winners, seven service breaks and only three holds.

“I was lucky, honestly, that Fabio made some mistakes in that second set,” Nadal acknowledged.

When Nadal dumped a backhand into the net, Fognini broke to lead 3-2, then went ahead 4-2. But from there, it was Fognini who faltered, missing four shots in a row to get broken at love as part of a four-game run by Nadal to make it a set apiece.

In the third, Nadal came up with one particularly perfect shot -- a forehand on the run that redirected an overhead by Fognini and sent it down the line for a winner to break for 4-2. Nadal's momentum carried him right to the edge of the stands, where thousands were on their feet, and he punched the air and yelled, “Vamos!”

Not long after, that set belong to Nadal, too, and he would collect 16 of the last 19 games.

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