Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during their second round match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 2, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Rafael Nadal advanced in the 2015 US Open with straight sets victory over Diego Schwartzman at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday 7-6(5), 6-5 7-5. Nadal, a two-time US Open champion, sets rematch with Fabio Fognini in the third round of the New York grand slam tennis event after the Italian beat Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-4 6-4.

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis star owns a 5-2 head-to-head advantage over Fognini. Three times this season, Nadal has faced Fognini on red dirt and on the first two occasions (semifinal of Rio Open and third round of Barcelona Open), the Italian triumphed over the 14-time grand slam champion.

Nadal’s recent losses to the 32nd- ranked Italian were an indicator of his struggle to step since returning from an injury-plagued 2014 season. Following Nadal’s loss to Fognini in Barcelona, the Mallorca native dropped to World No. 4 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world rankings. However, the Mallorca-native recently claimed revenge from the Italian at another ATP World Tour 500 series event at the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg.

The third round match will be the second time that Nadal and Fognini will compete against each other in a grand slam setup. Their first encounter in a grand slam event took place in the clay courts of the 2013 French Open, where Nadal won 7-6 6-4 6-4.

Both players have already played seven sets at Flushing Meadows. Nadal fired a total of 14 aces from his previous two matches to Fognini’s 13. They have to be at their best, especially for Nadal, who has not made a final of a grand slam tournament since winning his ninth French Open title last year, if they want to further streak into the next round at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal won the US Open in 2010 and 2013. Fognini’s best singles performance at Flushing Meadows came in 2012 when he reached the third round.

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