Rublev Ends Nadal’s Bid For 12th Monte Carlo Masters

Spain's Rafael Nadal (Top) shakes hands with Russia's Andrey Rublev after their quarter final singles match on day seven of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 16, 2021. Valery HACHE / AFP
Spain’s Rafael Nadal (Top) shakes hands with Russia’s Andrey Rublev after their quarter final singles match on day seven of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 16, 2021. Valery HACHE / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal’s bid for a 12th Monte Carlo Masters title was shattered by Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who swept to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 quarter-final win on Friday.

Nadal, bidding to reach the semi-finals of a Masters event for the 75th time, followed world number one Novak Djokovic, who was beaten in the third round, out of the tournament.

“For Rafa, it must be incredibly difficult to play with this pressure of always having to win,” said Rublev who also made the Miami Masters semi-finals at the start of April.

“I’m shocked to see the level which he can reach despite this pressure. It’s much easier to play when you have nothing to lose.”

It was only the second time in 16 appearances in Monte Carlo that Nadal had failed to make the semi-finals.

World number eight Rublev will face unseeded Casper Ruud, who put out defending champion Fabio Fognini, for a place in the final.

Spain's Rafael Nadal looks on during his quarter final singles match against Russia's Andrey Rublev on day seven of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 16, 2021. Valery HACHE / AFP
Spain’s Rafael Nadal looks on during his quarter final singles match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev on day seven of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 16, 2021. Valery HACHE / AFP

 

The other semi-final will feature Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas against Britain’s Dan Evans, the man who shocked Djokovic in the third round.

Tsitsipas is the highest seed left after world number two Daniil Medvedev was forced to withdraw due to a positive Covid-19 test.

Rublev is no stranger to taking out the big names — back in 2019, he stunned Roger Federer at Cincinnati in just 62 minutes.

On Friday, the 23-year-old won the first set in 38 minutes but Nadal then pocketed the last four games of the 73-minute second set to level the contest.

In the decider, Rublev held his nerve, breaking the Spaniard three times on his way to a famous win.

Nadal Beats Dimitrov To Cruise Into 12th Monte Carlo Final

Nadal Beats Dimitrov To Cruise Into 12th Monte Carlo Final
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after his victory against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov during their semi-final match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament on April 21, 2018, in Monaco. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

World number one Rafael Nadal swept aside Grigor Dimitrov to ease into his 12th Monte Carlo Masters final with a 6-4, 6-1 victory on Saturday.

The 31-year-old, who needs to win an 11th Monaco title to retain the number one ranking ahead of Roger Federer, will face either Kei Nishikori or Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final.

“Every year is different and equally special,” said Nadal, after beating Dimitrov for the 11th time in 12 meetings.

“So I’ll just focus on doing the things that I have to do to give me another chance tomorrow. That’s it.

“I don’t want to think about another title yet, I just want to think about the way I have to play and try to be ready for it.”

Nadal came through a tight first set but always looked too strong for Dimitrov and raced through the second in half an hour.

The top seed is bidding for an outright record 31st Masters title this week and extended his run of consecutive sets won on clay to 34.

Nadal, playing his first ATP tournament since he retired from his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January with a hip injury, has shown no signs of rust.

Following a 6-0, 6-2 last-eight demolition of Dominic Thiem, Nadal has lost only 16 games in four matches this week.

Dimitrov immediately put Nadal’s serve under pressure with two perfectly-judged lobs forcing deuce, but the top seed came through an eight-minute opener.

Nadal didn’t take long to get into his stride, breaking at the first time of asking as Dimitrov struggled in the longer rallies.

The Bulgarian continued to go for his shots and brought up three break-back points in game five as Nadal followed a double fault with two wayward groundstrokes.

Nadal fired long, before Dimitrov saved a break point himself with a venomous forehand to level at 3-3.

The fourth seed was displaying the resolve needed to push Nadal on his favourite surface, and came back from break point down again as the Spaniard continued to miss chances.

But Dimitrov wasted all of his earlier good work, handing Nadal two set points with back-to-back double faults and a wild forehand.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion wrapped up the set with a whipped forehand onto the line.

That effectively ended Dimitrov’s chances, and Nadal broke to love in the second game of the second set.

Nadal stormed towards the finishing line with eight straight points on his opponent’s serve and a wide Dimitrov backhand wrapped up yet another comfortable victory.

AFP

Monte Carlo: Nadal Thrashes Thiem To Cruise Into Semis

Monte Carlo: Nadal Thrashes Thiem To Cruise Into Semis
Spain’s Rafael Nadal plays a backhand return to Austria’s Dominic Thiem during their singles tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 20, 2018. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal crushed fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 to romp into the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals on Friday as he stepped up his bid for an 11th title in style.

A tight match had been anticipated, but Nadal produced one of the most dominant wins of his career as Thiem fell to pieces.

The Austrian didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 10th game, drawing ironic cheers from the crowd.

But it was a ruthless performance from the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who has to successfully defend the title this week to remain ahead of Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings.

Nadal will face Grigor Dimitrov in the last four on Saturday, but the Bulgarian will need a massive improvement from his win over David Goffin if he’s to stand a chance against the 10-time champion.

AFP

Dimitrov Beats Goffin To Reach Monte Carlo Semis

Dimitrov Beats Goffin To Reach Monte Carlo Semis
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov plays a forehand return to Belgium’s David Goffin during their singles tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 20, 2018. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

Grigor Dimitrov benefited from a second-set collapse by David Goffin on Friday to reach the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals for the first time with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) victory.

The 26-year-old Bulgarian got the better of a nervy Goffin in a repeat of last year’s ATP Tour Finals final to book a last-four clash with either defending champion Rafael Nadal or Austrian Dominic Thiem.

“I felt like I could have done things a bit better, especially at the beginning of the second set,” said Dimitrov.

“Hopefully in my next match I can do better in those moments.”

The pair will team up later on Friday in the doubles quarter-finals, but there was little charity on offer from Dimitrov towards his partner turned opponent.

Dimitrov has struggled on clay in the past and has never passed the French Open third round, but he was too strong for sixth seed Goffin in the Monaco sunshine.

Fourth seed Dimitrov edged a tight opening set after failing to serve for it as Goffin produced a poor service game at 5-4 down before the Belgian recovered to race into a 5-1 lead in the second.

But Goffin wasted three set points on his own serve as he tightened up on the most important points, and Dimitrov broke twice to force a tie-break.

The world number five wrapped up victory in the breaker on his second match point to claim one of the best wins of his career on clay.

AFP

Nadal Celebrates ‘Unbelievable’ Barcelona Open Victory

Courtesy: sportsnet.com

Rafael Nadal has described his victory at the Barcelona Open as unbelievable.

The victory marks his second clay court title in a row.

The Spaniard edged out Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-1 in his home country at a tournament that he has historically dominated.

The Barcelona triumph comes a week after Nadal won the Monte-Carlo Masters, as the clay court season ramps up towards the French Open.

Nadal Hopes To Win 10th Barcelona Open Title

Carlos Moya, Rafael NadalRafael Nadal is hoping that the form that saw him win the Monte Carlo Masters’ title will continue at the Barcelona Open.

The 30-year-old Spaniard claimed a record-extending 10th title at Monte Carlo on Sunday with a 6-1 6-3 victory against fellow countryman Albert Ramos.

He is currently in good form as he continues his build-up for the French Open.

Goffin Sends Djokovic Out Of Monte Carlo Masters

Goffin Sends Djokovic Out Of Monte Carlo MastersNovak Djokovic’s comeback from injury at the Monte Carlo Masters was cut short on Friday, as David Goffin earned the biggest win of his career.

World Number Two Djokovic, playing his second match after an elbow injury, lost 6-2 3-6 7-5 to the Belgian in the quarter-final.

Goffin, ranked 13th in the world, progressed to the next stage after taking his fifth match point in a dramatic 11-minute final game.

The defeat has ended the Serb’s hopes for a third title in Monte Carlo, an ATP World Tour 1000 event which is considered a key part of preparations for the French Open in May.

Andy Murray Crashes Out Of Monte-Carlo Masters

World Number One Andy Murray has crashed out of the Monte-Carlo Masters after suffering a shock defeat to Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Murray who was trying to bounce back after being sidelined for up to six weeks with an elbow injury unfortunately could not overcome the 15th seed.

Ramos-Vinolas will on the back of his 2-6 6-2 7-5 victory over the Briton proceed to face Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals.

Murray’s shock defeat comes two days after World Number two Novak Djokovic avoided a similar fate by overcoming a scare from Spain’s Gilles Simon to progress in the competition.

Rafael Nadal Wants More Trophies After Monte Carlo

Rafael NadalAfter ending his four-year wait for a ninth Monte Carlo Masters, Rafael Nadal looks set to equal Guillermo Villa’s record of 49 clay titles with the Barcelona Open this week.

Nadal, who has taken eight titles in Barcelona, more than any other player in the history of the tournament is keen to keep the winning momentum.

One of the favourites for the tournament alongside the Spaniard is Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

The world number six is two-time reigning champion of the open and Nadal is wary of the challenge he faces.

The former world number one, overcame a spirited Gael Monfils to 7-5 5-7 6-0 to win a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title.

Rafael Nadal had described his victory at the Monte Carlo Masters as unbelievable after claiming his 28th masters title.

His 28th masters 1000 crown draws him level with Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.

Nadal now heads to his home country for the Barcelona Open as the top seed.

Novak Djokovic Reacts To Monte Carlo Defeat

Novak-Djokovic-Andy-Murray-Tennis-Monte-CarloDefending champion, Novak Djokovic, has reacted to his exit from the Monte Carlo Masters after losing to Jiri Vesely.

Djokovic played down reports that an early exit from the competition would aid his chances of winning the French Open at Roland Garros this year.

Unseeded Vesely stunned the world’s number one 6-4 2-6 6-4 to hand Djokovic his second defeat this year.

The organisers of the Monte Carlo Masters said that it was the defending champion’s earliest defeat in the last three seasons.

Vesely came out strongly to win the first set 6-4 as Djokovic seemed to lack his usual speed around the court.

On the flip side, second seeded Andy Murray had to work hard to scale through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

The two-time Grand Slam winner dropped the first set to Benoit Paire of France, and risked losing the second before equaling the scores.

He took just over two and a half hours to finish the match, winning the third set 7-5.

Murray goes on to play Canada’s Milos Raonic, who beat Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Nadal claims seventh Barcelona Open title

Rafa Nadal became the first player in the open era to win two tournaments seven times when he fought off tenacious Spanish compatriot David Ferrer 7-6 7-5 to win a thrilling Barcelona Open final on Sunday.

In a repeat of last year’s title match and 10 years to the day since he made his World Tour debut, Nadal came out on top in a claycourt slugfest between the nation’s two best players that wowed the capacity crowd in the Catalan capital.

The world No 2, fresh from clinching a record eighth straight Monte Carlo Masters crown last week, claimed the giant Conde de Godo trophy for the seventh time in eight years with his 34th straight win at the event.

It was the 25-year-old French Open champion’s 48th career title and his 34th triumph on his beloved clay.

“Without doubt it was my most difficult match since the start of the clay season,” Nadal said in an interview with Spanish television.

“I think that David more than deserved to win this title and I really wish him the best for the rest of his career.”

Sixth-ranked Ferrer went toe to toe with his Davis Cup teammate in a closely-fought first set but failed to convert five set points on his opponent’s serve when leading 6-5 and faded badly to lose the tiebreak 7-1.

Meeting Nadal for a fourth time in the Barcelona final and chasing an ATP-best fourth title this year, he looked spent at that stage but after losing his serve to fall 3-1 behind managed to conjure the energy to break back.

He then drew on all his famed stamina and tenacity to carve out a 5-4 lead but again failed to convert when it counted and Nadal produced probably the shot of the tournament to help break the Ferrer serve and level at 5-5.

He just managed to get a racket on a Ferrer drive to lift the ball high over the net before anticipating his opponent’s smash and playing a miraculous return that surprised his opponent into offering up a simple volley.

FINAL STRAW

That appeared to be the final straw for Ferrer and Nadal reeled off the next three games, sealing victory with a backhand winner before leaping into the air to celebrate.

“David always takes you to the limit and I really had some good fortune in that first set,” he said.

“When you have five set points against you and you save all of them obviously there is a good deal of luck involved,” he added. “It was something of a lottery but it came down on my side and I am sorry for him but very happy.”

An exhausted-looking Ferrer, who has managed only four wins against Nadal in 18 meetings on all surfaces, paid tribute to his compatriot, with whom he now heads to the capital for the Madrid Open starting on Friday.

“Rafa is Rafa and he is very good,” Ferrer told Spanish TV.

“I have lost four times to him here in the final now but I know I have lost to one of the greats,” added the 30-year-old.

“He is a very good player and as a person even better.”

Nadal made his ATP Tour debut at the Mallorca Open aged 15 on April 29, 2002, beating Paraguay’s Ramon Delgado 6-4 6-4 in the first round.

He is now only six short of Thomas Muster (40) on the list of open era clay title winners, with Guillermo Vilas the overall leader (45).

The only players to have beaten him in a clay final are world No 1 Novak Djokovic and No 3 Roger Federer, who have both done it twice.