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Monaco | Nadal and Nishikori to face off for title

World number one Rafael Nadal eased into the final of the Monte Carlos Masters after eventually sweeping aside Grigor Dimitrov in what will be his 12th appearance in 14 years at the championship round of the Principality’s major event.

He beat the Bulgarian 6-4 6-1 in one hour and 32-minutes and will face Kei Nishikori for his eleventh Monte Carlo title, the Japanese star having recovered from a set down to eliminate Andrei Zverev, the third seed, 3-6 6-3 6-4.

It had been a very hard first set until the four-all. A lot of tough games

For Nadal this was his 67th win in Monte Carlo in 71 matches and he has now won the last 34 sets he played on clay as he continues to establish record statistics to underline his dominance on the surface.

Victory for the Spaniard will not only gain him that unprecedented 11th title in Monaco, but also his 76th ATP title and his 31st at Masters level which would be a new record. It would also ensure he remained at the top of the world rankings for a bit longer.

But while Nadal eased into the final it wasn’t without Dimitrov producing a surprising challenge to his dominance in the opening set as he fought hard to match Nadal for over an hour before conceding it. Having broken his resistance, Nadal swept through the remainder of the match with relative ease in less than 30-minutes to record his 11th win over the Bulgarian in 12 meetings.

The 31-year-old is playing in his first ATP tournament since pulling out of his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January with a hip injury, but has shown no signs of rust in all his matches this week, losing just 16 games in four matches.

In his semi-final he saw a 3-0 first-set lead slip away as Dimitrov produced the first real challenge Nadal has faced all week. At the crucial stage in the tenth game, Dimitrov failed to hold his serve gifting Nadal the set with two double-faults and, from that point it became one-way traffic for the Mallorcan.

“I think I played solid,” Nadal said later. “It had been a very hard first set until the four-all. A lot of tough games. Yes, I made a big mistake at 3-1, I played a very bad game.

“Then he came back… I really had a lot of chances in the first set. I was little bit lucky he hit two double-faults at 4-5, and one missed with the forehand. That gave me the advantage and then [I played] a good point to finish the first set.

“In the second, I think he started to miss more. He missed more than usual. I was solid there. That’s all.”


Kei Nishikori won his fourth three-set match of the week.

Getty Images

For Nadal this was his 67th win in Monte Carlo in 71 matches and he has now won the last 34 sets he played on clay as he continues to establish record statistics to underline his dominance on the surface.

Victory for the Spaniard will not only gain him that unprecedented 11th title in Monaco, but also his 76th ATP title and his 31st at Masters level which would be a new record. It would also ensure he remained at the top of the world rankings for a bit longer.

But while Nadal eased into the final it wasn’t without Dimitrov producing a surprising challenge to his dominance in the opening set as he fought hard to match Nadal for over an hour before conceding it. Having broken his resistance, Nadal swept through the remainder of the match with relative ease in less than 30-minutes to record his 11th win over the Bulgarian in 12 meetings.

The 31-year-old is playing in his first ATP tournament since pulling out of his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January with a hip injury, but has shown no signs of rust in all his matches this week, losing just 16 games in four matches.

In his semi-final he saw a 3-0 first-set lead slip away as Dimitrov produced the first real challenge Nadal has faced all week. At the crucial stage in the tenth game, Dimitrov failed to hold his serve gifting Nadal the set with two double-faults and, from that point it became one-way traffic for the Mallorcan.

“I think I played solid,” Nadal said later. “It had been a very hard first set until the four-all. A lot of tough games. Yes, I made a big mistake at 3-1, I played a very bad game.

“Then he came back… I really had a lot of chances in the first set. I was little bit lucky he hit two double-faults at 4-5, and one missed with the forehand. That gave me the advantage and then [I played] a good point to finish the first set.

“In the second, I think he started to miss more. He missed more than usual. I was solid there. That’s all.”





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