Rio de Janeiro: Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal slumped out of the ATP Rio Open on Saturday, losing his semi-final to Italian Fabio Fognini in three sets.
Fognini, who had lost his four previous meetings with the 14-time grand slam champion, won 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 to advance to Sunday`s final where he will play Spaniard David Ferrer.
Ferrer reached the trophy match earlier with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurerin 1hr 24min.
Nadal, who only came off court at 3:30 am after his overnight quarter-final win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, was visibly fatigued as he allowed his early momentum to slip, crashing out after 2hr 17 min.
"I am very pleased as I played the best in the world on this surface," said 28th-ranked Fognini.
Ferrer twice dropped serve against Haider-Maurer in a tight opener on center court at the swish Rio Jockey Club but the Spaniard moved through the gears to break in the 11th game and then motored through the second set.
The women`s final will pitch 16th-ranked Italian Sara Errani, the top seed, against 75th-ranked Slovak Anna Schmiedlova on Sunday.
Errani came past fifth-seeded Swede Johanna Larsson 7-5, 6-3 while sixth seed Schmiedlova shocked second-seeded Romanian hope Irina Begu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.