"It was a tough day and he was a hard opponent", said Nadal, who has a 71-5 record in the principality.
Nadal is usually the undisputed crowd favorite on the French Riviera, but shouts of "Fabio, Fabio, Fabio" rang out at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
The 31-year-old Fognini, who deserves plenty of credit for dismantling his opponent, will now play in his first Masters 1000 final for a shot at the biggest title of his career.
Rafael Nadal mentioned that he was fortunate enough to not to be bagled out today and was and delighted to win those two games in the second set.
"But I've been playing my best at Grand Slams and that's what I intend to do".
The 48th-ranked Lajovic staged an impressive comeback of his own, meanwhile, rallying from 5-1 down to beat 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1.
Playing spectacular tennis, Fognini was in full flow and he hit a delightful two-handed, backhand cross-court victor to break at the start of the second set.
"It was a physically and mentally draining set, especially losing my first three service games".
"I was lucky at 4-1, he had two points to be 5-1 and with 5-1 it's nearly impossible", Nadal admitted.
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It was Salah's first Champions League goal since December, and his first away from Anfield in the competition in 12 months. But on this occasion, it was like Guardiola had been abruptly woken from a dream to find himself in a living nightmare.
But it did not impede him as he served out the match, clinching victory on his second match point when Lajovic hit a forehand wide.
The 31-year-old Italian can lose his temper on court, and it got the better of him in a freakish incident during the fourth game.
Pella was on the brink of taking a 5-1 lead in the first set but Nadal managed to fight back to take the set 7-6 in the tiebreaker and eventually the match 7-6, 6-3.
"It was my first time in the finals, so a great experience for me".
The victor totalled less than half of the 47 unforced errors which came off the Djokovic racquet in the two-hour, 20-minute struggle in windy conditions.
"I was lucky to win the two games and to avoid the even worse score", Nadal said. "But I'm also getting more experience".
As I mentioned yesterday, Fognini can exhibit an extremely high peak level when at his best, but the problem with the enigmatic Italian is that this just doesn't happen very often.