Rafael Nadal got revenge on youngster Dominic Thiem Thursday in Monte Carlo for a loss the youngster handed him in Buenos Aires in February. Nadal, the 8-time Monte Carlo champion, saved 15 of 16 break chances against the Austrian to pull out a tough 7-5, 6-3 win.
“I think I played a good match,” said Nadal. “In terms of level of tennis, was great I think. In terms of fighting spirit and attitude and being ready to accept the mistakes, the good points, the tough moments, it was similar to the way that I played in Indian Wells.
“That was a great continuation against a very tough player. I think he played a great match, too. Was a very good victory for me. Very happy for that.
“The best thing is he didn’t play badly on the break points. It was more that I played well on the break points than he played bad.
The win was Nadal’s second over a Top 40 players this season after beating Kei Nishikori at Indian Wells.
Thiem, who has played so well this year, couldn’t get past missing so many break chances like he did in Miami against Novak Djokovic.
“I think the level was pretty high from both of us. Of course, I had a lot of chances. Probably I should take more than I have,” said Thiem. “But, he was fighting unbelievable all the set. At the end it was of course a big disappointment, the first set.
“It’s very important for me to play exactly these matches. Even though I lost today, it was still a very good experience. I think I can build upon it.”
Next for Nadal is test against the reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka who defeated Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-2.
“My concentration was very good. This is important against Gilles,” said Wawrinka who won Monte Carlo in 2014. “From the start I needed to dominate and be very present on the court. I succeeded in doing that.”
Still seeking his first Monte Carlo title, 4-time finalist Roger Federer continued his comeback easing past Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4. Federer is playing his first event since the Australian Open.
“As long as I can go into a match feeling alright, then during the match I’m not thinking about it,” said Federer. “I’m getting closer to the peak in the sense of maximum movement against the best players on a tough surface.
“I’ll be resting for the next couple of weeks anyway, so even if I get a setback for a couple of days, I can take as much time as I need. I feel like I’m in a great place right now.”
Federer will now meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday.
Andy Murray advanced over Benoit Paire in three sets to set up a meeting with Milos Raonic, a winner in a final set breaker over Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5).
And David Goffin finally fell to earth losing to lucky loser Marcel Granollers. Granollers will square off against Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals.
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