Spain's Rafael Nadal hits a return to Italy's Fabio Fognini during Rome's ATP Tennis Open tournament at the Foro Italico, on May 18, 2018 in Rome.
/ AFP / Andreas SOLARO
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Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal overcame a poor first set and a partisan crowd to beat Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and reach the Italian Open semifinals Friday.Fans at the Foro Italico were decidedly behind Fognini, Italy's top player, and Nadal was under pressure when Fognini won five straight games to cancel out a 4-1 deficit and win the opening set.Nadal can replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he lifts the Rome trophy for the first time since 2013 .Nadal struggled with his backhand early on, resulting in cheers from the crowd upon each miss, and Fognini hit a number of winners on the lines.Nadal hit only 16 winners to Fognini's 29 but committed less than half as many unforced errors – 19 to 39 .Nadal joined in the applause for Fognini, pausing to clap.
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