Nadal Powers Into Another Monte Carlo Final, Will Face Nishikori For 11th Title
by Staff | April 21st, 2018, 10:34 pm
  • 56 Comments

There seems to be no man capable of stopping Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard rolled into yet another Monte Carlo final, winning 8 of the last 9 games to dismiss Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-1.

“I think I played solid,” said Nadal. “It had been a very hard first set until the 4-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 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.”

The Spaniard has now won his last 13 matches on clay, 34 straight sets and has dropped just 16 games in four matches this week.

“I’m just going to take only the positives out of the match,” said Nadal. “It’s great to be able to play three, four matches back-to-back. It was great to start again on a good note. I mean, today was also maybe the match that I moved the best out of everything. I see, like, a lot of positives for the upcoming weeks. Again, despite the result, I think physically also I’m at a good level, in terms of moving well.”

In the final, it will be Kei Nishikori. Like Nadal, Nishikori is also coming off injury (wrist), and today the Japanese outlasted Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“I always enjoy playing this tournament,” said Nishikori. “It’s a great place to play tennis. I’m happy to be back in final of a Masters 1000 again. It’s been long time for me. Hopefully I can have another good day tomorrow.”

Added Nadal, “It’s a tough final, as a Masters 1000 should be, against a great opponent… With Kei, we had a lot of good matches in our career. I know I have to play at my best to keep having real chances of success. It’s an important match for me tomorrow.”

Nishikori has never won a Masters title (0-3 in finals) and is just 2-9 against Rafa, though did have him on the ropes in Madrid a few years ago before a back injury put a halt to the final.

“Rafa has been hitting very, very heavy, especially on his forehand, but also his backhand,” said Nishikori. “He’s been playing very solid this week. I hope I can find a way to beat him.”

Nadal is bidding for a record 31st Masters win and 76th of his career. And if he wins he’ll retain his No. 1 ranking.

Nishikori is trying to become the fourth straight first-time Masters winner.


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56 Comments for Nadal Powers Into Another Monte Carlo Final, Will Face Nishikori For 11th Title

Thanh Dinh Says:

Vamos RAFA.


SnotNosedKid Says:

Nadal in 2 sets, and one of them will probably be a bagel


AndyMira Says:

Insyaallah Rafa in 2…Vamos Rafa!!…


Madmax Says:

I think Kei will get 1 set. But for sure he is up against it. Self belief will work wonders, so plenty of the positive vibe for Kei this morning. Rafa doesn’t need that. He has tons of it already.


Madmax Says:

I hope we have a battle on our hands and it isn’t an easy match. Makes for more excitement as we all know.


Willow Says:

Keis a very good CC player, so im not seeing this as a shoo in for Rafa….


gonzalowski Says:

Rafa would retain n.1 and surpass McEnroe’s weeks. Let’s ser if he wins easily and goes fresh to Barna.


Margot Says:

Depends how Kei’s wrist holds up I guess, but I’d be surprised if he gets a set.


chofer Says:

Kei played probably the best clay court matches of his life in two final losses to Rafa in Madrid and Barcelona years back. He lost both. There’s no reasonable argument, with a suspect condition, Nadal won’t make it three in a row with him. Unless he’s in worst shape than Kei.

I’m with Margot here. He’s not losing a set.

I reserve my judgement about some surprising and very obtuse comments some posters did in another thread about “clay is boring” “Dimitrov is bad” and stuff. Posters I didn’t know then; I won’t like to know now.

You think this is boring? Change channels or wait until your favorite is playing next time around. Get your insufferable trolling to tennis.com It’s viral there; you may feel better around someone like you. You know who you are. Disgusting.


Margot Says:

Chofer: if those posters want “boring” I suggest they watch a re-run of Isner v Mahut at Wimbledon, first time round, 2nd time it was quicker ….. just didn’t seem like it…..


Okiegal Says:

I guess it doesn’t take much to amuse me……I love “boring”clay…….and will have to admit to Margot, I watched every second of the Isner/Mahut ace fest….. I couldn’t wait to see who cracked first…..I have decided that I might be a very dull person. LOL

@Chofer 7:09……My sentiments exactly!


Margot Says:

Well OK it would be a very boring world if we all thought the same…..but have you had your specs checked recently? Just askin’….;)


Willow Says:

Chofer well said ;-)


Willow Says:

LOL Aparantly when Serena won Wimbledon that year, even with all of her 7 matches, she didnt spend as much time on court as Isner and Mahut, i was pulling for Mahut to win that one, as i think he plays the more attractive tennis, and is the more talented of the two, no offence to Izzy, not a match id choose to watch again, but i wonder if its ever been released on DVD so Okie can relive it ?


AndyMira Says:

Chofer 7:09am…Yay!!Thank u Chofer!…We need posters like u here!Thank u for being here too!


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…. this will make you feel a little better about me…..cataract in left eye!! LOL 🤓🤓🤓


Daniel Says:

Good start, Kei is the first player to hold and not go down 0-3 in 5 matches this week. But even so, it was a 10 min game showung how hard it is to hild against Nadal on clay.


Daniel Says:

Hum, Nadal in unusual territory, behind for the first time.
Let’s see if Kei holds serve.

Drop shots are a good option for Kei, who won both points with it including this break.


Okiegal Says:

@ Willow….. I never said I wanted to relive it…….once was enough! LOL 😝😝😝


Margot Says:

Congratulations to Rafa and his lovely fans on here. Me oh my, he’s gonna have to have a very bad day at the office for anyone to have a snowflake in hell’s chance of beating him.
OK, I wouldn’t wish a cataract on anyone but….it explains a lot…..;)


AndyMira Says:

M…Thank u Boss!


Daniel Says:

Congrats Nadal, 11th Mc. Now record holder alone of total Masters as 31 and record sixth on #1 weeks with 171 surpassing McEnroe.

Next week onto Barcelona 11th and defend his #1 ranking again.

He can meet Kei in R16 there and Djoko QF.

Simce his Rome loss to Thiem nobody was able to make even 5 games in a set agaisnt him on clay. 36 straight set won on clay.
With depleted field this year, no Fed, Wawa, Murray and old foes struggling with injury hard to see him losing a match. Maybe one, but RG seems a shoe in again.


Giles Says:

Well done Champ!
E L E V E N T H Monte Carlo title. What a feat!
👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏


Anto Says:

Very easy tournament victory once again for Rafa on clay. No player has ever dominated one surface like Nadal did on clay.


Giles Says:

Still #1.


j-kath Says:

Yes, Rafa still No. 1 – well done. Onwards and upwards. Always believed he was going to win….but realise his very “hot” fans can feel nervous about being too confident. Whew – You can breath out now gals.


lylenubbins Says:

Rafa’s ability and drive to keep coming back from injuries is unreal. He is already completely destroying the field. I have never seen anything like it.


Madmax Says:

Certainly, a remarkable achievement, No. 11. No one can argue with that. Congratulations to the only real rafa fan here, Willow. I would have liked to have seen a stronger battle Willow, but what can you do?

There was no doubt in my mind, rafa would win, just hoping for a longer match with an opponent who believed he could win.

Kei has come far, but never quite gets there. Anyhow, he is in the mix, and perhaps his day will come at some point down the line.

Congrats Willow.


Nick T Says:

Yawn… with Muarry, Djokovic, Raonic, etc., out men’s tennis is becoming a farce. A 37 year-old dominating a young man’s game and another guy who dominates an antiquated surface that they play a portion of the season on. Wake me up when the competition stiffens. I haven’t watched since Andy and Novak disappeared and it’s clear Novak felt like after he won the French he didn’t have to work as hard and is distracted with outside issues. What a dissapointment. Not giving props to Nadal on clay. Enjoy it Rafanatics… and don’t tell me the sport is thriving. The young guys can’t get it done and viewership is down.


Willow Says:

Thankyou Madmax ….


Willow Says:

Interestingly he will be going for 11 at Barcelona next week, and at RG, unless we get brand new champions for both before moving to grass, where we might get more competition on grass too, rather than any one player dominating ?


Tennis Lover Says:

Rafael Nadal is pretty much beatable in clay. The key to beat Rafa is relentless accuracy with aggression. In other words, the player has to be complete package. The main thing why everyone finds difficult to beat nadal in clay is he almost misses nothing on that surface. If you want to beat him, you need to replicate this in a better way. If Rafa almost misses nothing, then you can not miss anything- as I said relentless accuracy with aggression is the key to beat him. Is there no such player in this planet?


Giles Says:

Willow. Did you congratulate Rafa? Just asking.


Willow Says:

Congratulations to Rafa on his 11th MC title, goes without saying, i also did it on his page on Facebook ;-)


Willow Says:

Rafa and i have messaged each other on Facebook Giles , be still my beating heart ;-)


Willow Says:

Rafa has won 34 straight sets on clay, beating his own record of 32 ….


chofer Says:

Yup. I’m not the biggest fan of Nadal here, for sure. But this article summarizes brillantly what’s happening to me when he steps on clay: http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2018/04/rafael-nadal-kei-nishikori-monte-carlo-masters-final-11th-title/73457/

Even playing subpar, he can’t find competition and it’s not his fault. I don’t even think is another’s fault, too. Kei is coming back from a serious injury and he showed signs of tiredness in his last two matches. What did you expect, really?

Of course Nadal can be beat on clay every once in a while. You just have to play like Thiem did in the QFs of Rome last year. Like Nole did a considerable amount of times over. That means, not missing a beat.

Nadal is entirely another beast in this surface, duh. To produce a masterwork in clay against him you need that kind of focus and confidence. Djokovic did that and more in a memorable French Open SF years back. He lost, because Nadal was not missing anything , either. When he plays like that, it’s wonder to watch. When he plays more like today, it’s a wonder he manages to find his shots out of nowhere and still win easily. The Djokovic of that day would probably troubled the Nadal of today. Who knows; he might have won.Be my guest. But you need that titanic effort.

It’s too early to tell, now. But he struggled today with his own FH and serve, and still was light years away of being challenged. I think his utter dominance it’s more than a “technical flaw” from his occasional rivals: it’s about knowing that from 13 years, and counting, he’s not losing a match on this surface unless you take it out of him. 13 years! Need I say that this is daunting and intimidating to everyone else? That he, too, still win matches in the locker room when he steps on his beloved surface?
Tennis is psychological sport; even more so than other team sports. You’re on your own with your doubts, pains, injuries and confidence or lack of thereof. It’s also a game of SMALL MARGINS.

For 13 years this man proved he’s better at it than any abilities his main rivals might have. He knows everything about clay, but mostly he knows how to not to lose. And when he does, it’s on that rare occasions he plays subpar or, better still, the other was more confident than him on the day and knows how to be patient, too (mainly, Djokovic)

On this surface, he’s a force of nature. You just don’t need to play better than him to beat him. You need to step on all over his confidence and ruin it. That’s the hardest task of all. For a while, the Serb did it. The only one who could.

Good luck accomplishing that now that Nole is coming out of the dark.

BTW, I’ve already said it’s strange Nishikori never got to the Franch Open SFs. Ig he can be second best, even not playing really well either…


Humble Rafa Says:

Certainly, a remarkable achievement, No. 11. No one can argue with that.

You clearly haven’t met some people. Some people will argue until their last day.

Anything after 10th trophy is special. I have a special house for that.


Okiegal Says:

Congrats to Rafa on his latest title! I will always brag on Rafa regarding his prowess on clay and all he has achieved on his favorite surface……..but you will never ever hear me say on a public forum that he will win an impending tourney because it is clay…… I’m still very fearful of the “ jinx” clause. Lol! I will give him kudos after the fact…..should he win and my sympathies should he lose.


j-kath Says:

Madmax: You are giving me wrinkles….and I spilt my wine!!!! Absolutely agree Willow is an excellent Rafa fan but when I think of his main fans on TX its always a trio of ladies: Willow/Okie/Andy-M – plus Giles, and happily many others.


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…… My 👁👁 need a little help … but I can still tell who’s hot and who’s not…..hubba hubba!!! 😎😎😎


Okiegal Says:

@JK… you are right……the gals can chill!!


Okiegal Says:

@JK 5:36……Thank you……and I know the other loyal Rafa fans will thank you too……,


AndyMira Says:

Awww JK!…Thank u thank u thank u for your nice words!…You’re awesome!!…

As for MM,this is not the 1st time she did that..before she fell out with Okie,she’s also included Okie as a true Rafans…now even Okie is not a true Rafans anymore….If my open declaration that i also have an affection for Andy & Nole makes me not a true Rafan..then it’s okay..i don’t mind at all..I love rafa through & through…But,the greatness in other Big 3 also is hard to ignore…


chofer Says:

Andy

The greatness of the other three is the reason some of them are often injured when all of their careers were playing catch up (and surpass) the other one. 14 years of gruelling battles, some absurdly brilliant, and we have the nerve to COMPLAIN about them not being able to challenge Rafa on clay, or Roger at the Australian Open the last two years, and so on…

When they’re all gone, the stupidity will be so loud and clear, some people will surely complain why there is not an identifiable champion and WHY everyone will have a shot to win a Slam, nevermind a Masters 1000.

The void will be like the Ozone Hole. The Sam Stosurs and Flavia Penettas of male tennis will have a spot in the Sun and people will be happy tennis is unpredictable again and not “boring” anymore.

Happy idiots.


AndyMira Says:

As for clay is boring…it is very unfortunate for some to feel that way…I think,there’s still high level of tennis & great matches that we can enjoy…To see other opponents to dismantle Rafa on his beloved turf always bring out the best in them & produced a high quality tennis too..

Even tho my fav is amazing on clay…but,i also love grass & HC very much too…And i should feel bitter towards grass coz Rafa always bundled out in the 1st week for the past 5 years…but,i’m not…I still can enjoy watching others trying their best to be a champion at Wimby..Tennis is not about surface imo..but it’s about the players who compete at their best to be The Best..no matter what surface…


chofer Says:

I’m not implying otherwise. We’re talking about two o the greatest ever that have entered the “geriatric” zone in terms of tennis life and have every right to save themselves to the surfaces (and tournaments) the want to play. Do you think Rafa will play the whole hard court schedule this year? I don’t think so. And franklý, it would be the smartest move.

I meant all of theses years of playing (and mostly winning) everything available against each other has to have some prize at this point: the body pays.

The problem is really in the youngsters. Zverev seems close, but no cigar. At his age, all of the otheres were contenging for Slams, not just Montecarlo. Meanwhile, there are enough people in “the lost generation” that never were really body-tested like the ones you mentioned. But you don’t see Grigor as a favourite to challenge Rafa or Roger for the French or Wimby this year, do you?

I believe it, when I see it.

I say we have to enjoy the “oldies” while they last. Not complain about the lack of challengers. Nevermind the surface.


AndyMira Says:

@Chofer 8:30pm…haha..yeah agree with u!…For me it’s very simple..You’re good then you’re going to win..on clay,grass,HC..no matter..If you not win,then you’re not good enough to win the precious prize…

As for Rafa playing all HC this year…’All’ here for Rafa r Montreal,Cincy then USO..And then Asian Swing..I still didn’t see his schedule this year but i think,If he’s healthy & not injured he will play his usual tourney Chofer..Rafa is a creature full of habit..He’s not going to change his habit if he’s healthy..Just 3,4 days ago Rafa said that he will not skip ANY tournament just because they’re not good for his body or wanna prolonged his career..He’ll do it his way..

As for youngsters & not so youngsters…Yeah!…they’re not ready in every aspect to challenge the Big Gun yet…Mental toughness,stamina..Always lacking something in key moments…


Okiegal Says:

@ Mira……Great comments as always! You are a true fan of tennis…. I think I’m a true fan of one guy who plays
tennis and is really fantastic on a particular surface but has won multiple slams on all surfaces. As I have told you before, I will retire when he does …… just being honest………


Humble Rafa Says:

I’m still very fearful of the “ jinx” clause. Lol! I will give him kudos after the fact

I survived this.

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2015-07-02/19937.php

So you have nothing to worry.


AndyMira Says:

Miss Okie!…hahaha..Thank u very much for the compliment Boss!I love u!!..And i understand & respect your view very much ma’am!..It’s a good thing too that Rafa still playing!Coz u still can enjoy him at least for a couple of years more…Insyaallah!…Vamos Rafa!!


AndyMira Says:

Lol HR!!…That stupid thread again??Hahahaha…u!!!!


Okiegal Says:

@HR……..OMG that’s right, I forgot all about that terrible thread. You are a survivor! .You need to make application with CBS and audition for the show….. after you retire! Tennis first ……. then HOLLYWOOD!!


Willow Says:

Yeah i remember it well, the distasteful comments from some people on that thread, seen it all over the years on here, he will never be number 1 again ! wrong as hes been number 1 now 3 times since that poster made his bold prediction, he will never win anything off clay again ! wrong as hes won the USO twice since that other bold prediction, wrong, wrong, wrong, lesson learned dont state out your opinion to be a bona fide fact !, or you could end up being left with egg on your faces, and looking very silly, an opinion is only an opinion its not a fact, end of my rant ….


j-kath Says:

Choker: @ 8.48pm. Who are the 2 geriatrics in terms of top tennis players you referred to? I can only think of one much older successful player – Roger? Who will be 37 in August. I can’t think of anyone else close to his age who is legitimately part of the same conversation…. Andy/Nole will be 31 in May; Rafa will be 32 in June.
…in terms of tennis, only 3 belong to a younger generation.. (despite injuries) ..Yes/No?

I don’t mean the above to be challenging, but we talk about people like Grigor, Kei, Thiem, Goffin as being the “next generation/heirs-to-be” …..but it’s only academically correct when applied to Roger (or occasional to other toughies from his generation who remain relevant but are much less successful).

Rafa has returned in style – age-wise both Nole and Andy still have time to replicate ….even if it takes longer.

Pleasant dreams.

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