Rafael Nadal Overcomes Freak Racquet Injury and Fabio Fognini At US Open

Rafael Nadal overcame unusual injury to reach US third round. Open Thursday when he accidentally hit himself with a racket. The Spaniard beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, only to suffer a freak self-inflicted injury in the fourth set while leading 3-0. The four-time champion, who holds the men's record 22 majors, was injured when his racket bounced off the fairway and hit a ball that hit him on the nose.

The 36-year-old Australian and French Open champion dropped his racquet on the floor at Arthur Ashe Stadium before sprinting to the skid, lying on his back with a bleeding nose.

He required a medical time-out to treat the injury before resuming play and was then given a bandage through the bridge of his nose.

Nadal met France's Richard Gasquet, who boasts a career 17-0 record after 15 breaks and 97 unforced errors.

Fognini defeated Nadal from two sets down at the US Open in 2015.

The 35-year-old was buoyed by the memory and took the first set with breaks in both games 3 and 7 while Nadal was too low.

It was the second match in a row that Nadal lost the first set after suffering the same fate in the opener against Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata.

The first five games of the second set were broken serves and Nadal was forced to call his coach to treat a blister on his left hand after he was 2-3 down.

Fognini led 4-2 before Nadal levelled in the next four games. Nadal had a paltry three wins in each of the first two sets.

However, the four-time champion doubled his tally to take the third set against a suddenly frustrated Fognini, who needed a medical time-out to bandage his right foot.

Nadal took a 3-0 lead, but an injury temporarily halted his progress to the round of 16.