Rafael Nadal advanced to his first grass court final since 2011 Wimbledon today defeating Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals at the Stuttgart grass event.
Nadal will face Serb Viktor Troicki who was a winner over Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-7, 7-6(2).
“It’s a great feeling to be back in a final, especially on grass,” said Nadal. “It’s been since 2011, I didn’t play a final on grass. So it’s very good to be back and I think I’m playing well. It was a tough match but I played well against a very difficult opponent.
“He’s a charismatic player and does different things on court… I just tried to be ready and wait for my moment. I was solid with myself.
“The victories are energy. I am enjoying practicing, I’m enjoying playing on court with all my game, which is something I missed a lot in the first half of the season.
“I feel I’m doing things better on court, playing more relaxed, enjoying a little bit more. And that’s the thing I need to do to have success in the game: work hard and be relaxed. That is what I’m doing and I hope to have a good second half of the season.”
Nadal has not won a grass title since his 2010 Wimbledon triumph. He has beaten Troicki in all four prior meetings.
“I’ve been playing on grass since 2013 and to play in my first grass-court final, it’s great,” said Troicki. “I’m really happy with how I played. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s final.”
Nadal has just won title since his 2014 French Open title, a win in Buenos Aires earlier this year.
In Den Bosch, Nicolas Mahut will square off against David Goffin in the final. Mahut, who had to qualify for the event, beat Dutch favorite Robin Haase while Goffin ended the run of Gilles Muller.
“It’s great at the beginning of the main draw when you have three matches,” said Mahut. “Then at the end there’s a lot of tiredness, especially this year I played doubles too. So I really need to recover and have a very good night tonight.
“It was really difficult. He had a really good start, a very good first set, and I was feeling a little bit tired after the week. I just tried to keep myself in the second set and was waiting for an opportunity to break him and I had this chance.
“I think this is the best surface for my game. I feel really confident when I play on it. It¹s the fifth final – I lost two, I won two – so I hope this one will be 3-2 up.”
On the women’s tour, the Den Bosch final features Camila Giorgi against Belina Bencic.
The Nottingham semifinals have been delayed until Sunday due to weather. Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals against Monica Niculescu. The women’s final will be played later Sunday.
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