The Monte Carlo Masters will feature and All-Spanish final with Rafa Nadal the heavy favourite to collect his 10th title at the Principality at the expense of Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the player who ousted the top seed and world number one, Andy Murray.
. I'm very happy because this is a very important event for me and it's my first tournament on clay [this year] so it's great to be able to play in the final again."
Nadal was his usual aggressive self as he beat David Goffin, Novak DjokovicÈs conqueror, 6-3 6-1 to reach his 11th final in Monte Carlo.
But while the scoreline looks comfortable, Goffin was giving as good as he got until the sixth game when the umpire Cedric Mourier over-ruled a call which was clearly long past GoffinÈs baseline in favour of Nadal who was trailing 3-2.
Mourier then got down to point out where he thought the ball had landed on the line and despite Goffin pointing to the actual mark some inches past the baseline, declared the point be replayed. Hawkeye confirmed Goffin was right but the system is not being used by the officials who rely on their eyesight on clay.
Nadal went on to win the point and not only break back, but seemingly also break GoffinÈs resolve as he swept through winning 10 of the remaining 11 games to clinch his place in the final.
Earlier Ramos-Vinolas had beaten the fading 15th seed Lucas Pouille 6-3 5-7 6-1 to reach his first ever Masters final. While the underdog for the title if successful it would only be the second ATP title of his career the 29-year-old from Barcelona is on a roll with victories over Murray and Marin Cilic before meeting Pouille.
"I’m really happy, as you can imagine. On Monday I was not expecting such a week, I don’t know why it’s happening now," said Ramos who described his match as a nervy event. "We were both nervous at the start but in the second set it was a good match. Then he seemed tired and I was feeling fresh, physically and mentally, maybe that’s why I won."
But the big controversy of the day was umpire MourierÈs action which denied and blunted GoffinÈs excellent start to the match. Nadal speaking of the 17-minute game which saw him take control, commented: "At the end it was very significant but I cannot know what’s going on over the other side of the net.
Nonetheless the Majorcan was delighted that he would be appearing in the final yet again. "I’m very, very excited. I’m very happy because this is a very important event for me and it’s my first tournament on clay [this year] so it’s great to be able to play in the final again."
Of his final compatriot, he added: "Albert is playing really well. He beat Andy, Marin Cilic and today again, so he’s a top player on clay. It will be a very tough final so I must play my best."