For Nadal, he avenged an earlier season defeat to the Italian in the semifinals of Monte Carlo, where Fognini went on to claim the biggest title of his career. Nadal is bidding to win his fifth trophy at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada, and third this season, following triumphs in Rome and Roland Garros.
Nadal improved to 12-4 lifetime against Fognini. (Getty Images)
In the semifinals, Nadal will play the winner of Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut. Their quarterfinal was postponed to Saturday after rain refused to let up later in the evening.
Fognini had the upper hand early, as two loose forehands from Nadal saw him go down a double break. Fognini stepped in on the Spaniard's second serve, taking nine of 11 points, to win the first set in commanding fashion.
Both players exited the court and Nadal was quick to clean up his ground game, having misfired with 14 unforced errors in the opening set. Fognini dropped a loose service game, netting three groundstokes and donating a double fault, to fall behind 2-0. From there, it was all Nadal, who won 25 of 27 first serve points over the final two sets to book his place in the last four.