So far, the 2017 clay court swing has been dominated by Rafael Nadal and his tremendous lost-and-found pace. The Spaniard entered Mutua Madrid Open as the fourth seed sharing the second half of the draw with Djokovic. As a top seed, he got a bye for the inaugural round while his opponent from today Fabio Fognini was battling Joao Sousa in the first round. Fognini came up stronger and today he was close to producing a huge upset in Madrid and only Nadal's sharpness in the key moments prevented the Italian from capping a massive victory. Nadal is getting through another invincibility shower as his numbers on clay are getting even bigger.

Nadal had in Fabio Fognini a genuine test to deal with

To secure a spot in Miami's next round, Nadal fought quite hard as Fognini stood close to him.

The opening set offered the first clues of how hard each of them was craving for a win. Fognini seemed more like in the zone and procured first some set points without converting any of them. The set went to a tie-break where Nadal unleashed some of his finest Tennis putting the set in his slot. The second set was rather calm compared to the first one having the key moment on its fourth game when Fognini broke Nadal. It was just necessary for the Italian to walk away with the set by 6-3. And that brought the encounter to a decisive third set where somehow expected Rafael Nadal knew how to handle things in his favour edging Fognini by 6-4. The hard part of the tournament is just starting now as Nadal will face Nick Kyrgios next. The young Aussie looks rock solid in Madrid winning his first two matches without dropping a single set in the process.

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If he gets past Kyrgios, Nadal is set to play against the winner of Milos Raonic vs David Goffin showdown.

Rafael Nadal is looking so dominant on the clay

Winning back-to-back titles in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, Nadal cemented his spot in the ranking having a good possibility for further growth as Roger Federer won't compete so that he won't accumulate points in the next weeks or so. The other good part for Nadal is that he is almost done defending last year's results on clay. By the end of this month, he will be set free of the burden with a half season ahead to gather as many points as he can. Overall, his numbers in 2017 are great having played 5 finals winning two of them. Judging his current pace, those numbers are about to change perhaps even by the end of this week.