Fabio Fognini pulled off a massive upset Saturday, defeating world No. 2 Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Monte Carlo Masters final.
The Italian ended the Spaniard's streak of 25 consecutive sets won at the tournament and broke his counterpart's serve six times.
"It was a tough day and (Fabio) was a difficult opponent," Nadal said, according to the ATP. "I am coming from low moments in terms of injuries, and in terms of the mental side it has not been easy to accept all the things that have been going on ... it was this kind of day that everything was wrong."
Fognini entered Saturday's showdown with a 3-11 career record against Nadal, but two of those victories were on clay. He joins Novak Djokovic, Gaston Gaudio, and Dominic Thiem as the only players to beat Nadal at least three times on clay, according to ATP Media Info.
The 31-year-old had 21 winners and 22 unforced errors while Nadal had 10 and 25 respectively.
Fognini will play unseeded Dusan Lajovic for the championship after the Serb defeated 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1 in his semifinal match. Both players are seeking their first Masters 1000 title.
"It's a surprise final, because of course both of us (were) not favorites (in the matches) today," said Fognini. "I think it's going to be really tough. He has nothing to lose. I have nothing to lose. We start 50-50. Even if the ranking (says) I'm higher than him, I know that I have to run a lot tomorrow."
Nadal was the three-time defending champion at Monte Carlo and owns a record 11 tournament titles. His last loss at Monte Carlo came to Djokovic in the 2015 semifinal.