French Open 2013 - Rafael Nadal vs. Fabio Fognini (13:00 BST)

Rafael Nadal (credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal takes on Fabio Fognini this afternoon in the third round of the 2013 French Open at Roland Garros (13:00 BST start).

Nadal has surprisingly dropped two sets this week at the French Open, but there's no reason to be worried about the 'King of Clay' making an exit just yet. It seems like the rest of the ATP have clocked that to beat Rafa you're going to have to gamble on your big shots, and Daniel Brands and Martin Klizan both produced admirable and gutsy displays to give the Spaniard something to think about.

That said, over five sets there's no substitute for consistency and Nadal simply has more about him than his rivals. They might be able to clinch a break here or there but Rafa usually ends up taking home the big W.

We're expecting business to resume as usual later today, as Nadal takes on Fognini. The pirate-like Italian has a lot of flair about him and he's known to be a capable opponent on the red dirt. Regardless, he took a routine battering from the world No. 4 in Rome this season which doesn't bode well ahead of this clash.

No disrespect intended towards Fognini, but Nadal's place in round four seems all but guaranteed. He perhaps was fortunate that Lukas Rosol was beaten by Fognini in round three, as the Czech is one of the few players with the weapons required to break through the Spaniard's defence.

Fognini, on the other hand, is less likely to apply the pressure.




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French Open 2013 - Rafael Nadal vs. Fabio Fognini (13:00 BST)

Rafael Nadal takes on Fabio Fognini this afternoon in the third round of the 2013 French Open at Roland Garros (13:00 BST start).

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