Nadal stutters his way to the semi-final

19 April 2013
Nadal sufre para alcanzar las semifinalesNadal stutters his way to the semi-final

The Spaniard notched up his 45th consecutive win in Monte Carlo after a gruelling match against the ever-promising Grigor Dimitrov. He will now take on Jo-Wilfred Tsonga for a place in the final, while Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini will battle it out in the other semi-final.

Rafa Nadal is one step closer to lifting his ninth consecutive Monte Carlotitle, but his 6-2, 2-6, 6-4quarter-finalwin today was far from a stroll in the park. The Spaniardhad to sweat it out in order to get pasta Grigor Dimitrov who once again showed why he is being hotly tipped to dominate the world of tennis in the upcoming years.

Nadal got off to a flying start with some wonderful tennis, similar to how he had been playing all week, and it looked as if he was on his way to an easy victory after taking the opening set 6-2. However, a superb reaction from Dimitrov coincided with the champion of the last eight editions of the tournament losing his rhythm. The Bulgarian was lethal with his serve, and with the score tied 2-2 he managed to break Nadal’s serve on two occasions to win the second set.

The final set was significant by how even the play was. Dimitrov continued to look impenetrable with his serve, while Nadal seemed to be struggling more than usual with his. But as is the case with true legends, the Spaniard was able to pull a bit of magic out of the bag with the score level at 4-4, breaking his opponent’s serve and holding on long enough to close out the encounter. He will now meet Tsonga in the semi-finals, after the Frenchman came back from a one set deficit to see off Stanislas Wawrinka.

In the closing match of the day, the world No. 1 finally enjoyed a straightforward victory in the tournament after getting off to losing starts in his initial two encounters. Djokovic looked a lot more comfortable today as he dispatched of JarkkoNiemienen,6-4, 6-3. The Finn, who sent Milos Raonic and Juan Martín del Potro packing earlier on in the week, has been one of the big revelations during the tournament, as has Fabio Fognini.

The Italian recorded his best ever run in a Masters 1000 tournament today, seeing off Richard Gasquet to seal his semi-final place, where he will cross paths with Djokovic.

Meanwhile, in the doubles competition, Spain’s Fernando Verdascoand David Marrero beat Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau and tomorrow will take on Julien Benneteau and Nenad Zimonjic for a place in the final. Mike and Bob Bryan will go head-to-head with Milos Raonic and Bernard Tomic in the other semi-final.