The Monte-Carlo tournament is a favourite for the Italians-the border between France and Italy is just 10km along the Mediterranean coast-and they are always highly vocal, highly enthusiastic supporters for the Italians who play the draw.
22 of 23 ATP titles have been won by different players.
Fognini had beaten Nadal twice before on clay, and also once at the U.S. Open in five sets, but this was arguably the most impressive.
"It will be hard to return to the practice court", a subdued Nadal said after his fourth loss to Fognini, three of which have come on his beloved clay.
"There was little chance for me to start the clay-court season in a ideal way", he insisted.
It looked set to be win No 14 when Nadal led 5-2 in the final set, only for big-hitting Verdasco to come roaring back and claim victory after three hours and 11 minutes.
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Team India vice-captain Rohit Sharma joined in saying: "Thoughts and prayers with Sri Lanka ". An island wide curfew has been declared by the Ministry of Defence, in place immediately.
Madrid would revert back to red clay and Nadal would go on to win this tournament a further three times.
And Fognini got over the line to record the biggest tournament win of his career, with his success in Monte Carlo ensuring he will be a career-best 12th in the world rankings on Monday. It will be interesting to see how the Italian carries his momentum in the next clay court tournaments. And there have been quite a few young or unexpected performers who have made an impression with inspiring performances.
Still, the second-ranked Nadal called it "one of my worst matches in 14 years" and the 32-year-old Spaniard said it was "difficult to find an explanation" for capitulating on his favored clay-court surface.
The Serb showed glimpses of his ability in the final as well but a few costly errors and Fognini's dominating game ended his title hopes.
But the King of Clay's most recent match has raised questions about him having the same effect on clay this season. On Friday, Nadal advanced to the semifinals, 7-6 (1), 6-3 over Guido Pella.
Fognini needed a medical timeout to receive treatment to his right foot and right thigh after the fifth game of the second set. His opponent had never been to this stage of a grand slam before and had won just one game when the pair met a month prior at the Italian Open. Nadal had been in ruthless form to reach the final in Melbourne, but was completely out of sorts against his great rival.
The victor of his first Masters 1000 trophy came to the first major week of the pre-Roland Garros run-up with a 0-4 record on the clay, the surface he grew up on.