Nadal Dominates Thiem To Reach Monte Carlo SFs, Dimitrov Awaits; Nishikori-Zverev To Meet
by Staff | April 20th, 2018, 9:38 pm
  • 83 Comments

Rafael Nadal is already in ruthless clay form. Today, the Spaniard demolished who many consider to be the second best player on clay, Dominic Thiem, by a margin of 6-0, 6-2.

The 10-time Monte Carlo champion has lost just 11 games in six sets so far and has taken his last 32 sets on clay with 12 straight wins.

It has been a great result for me, but it isn’t a normal result,” said Nadal after reaching his 13th Monte Carlo semifinal. “He’s one of the best players of the world, especially on clay.

“Here, I think I played great. I played so well this afternoon, playing very aggressive in general terms, backhand, forehand, serve. I’m defending well, returning well. It has been a great day for me, and a very good result against a very difficult rival. I’m sorry for him, because he’s a good friend. It was a tough score, of course. But I know he is going to be fighting for every title during the clay court season.”

Nadal next meets Grigor Dimitrov who eased past good friend David Goffin 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach his first Monte Carlo semifinal. However, the Bulgarian is just 1-10 against Rafa.

“For sure he’s the favorite. Yes, he has a great record. Yes, he’s the best player on clay. That definitely doesn’t discourage me. That excites me to get out on Saturday and play my match, simple as that,” Dimitrov said looking ahead to Nadal.

“One of the wrong things you can do is really focus on his side. I always said that. Whoever you play, you always got to focus on your end, the way you structure yourself to go out and play, be creative on the court. That’s just how it is. Honestly, I’m happy to be out here, happy to compete against him on such an occasion.”

Added Rafa, “I know it’s difficult to play better than today. Being honest, I have to recognize that… But my goal is to rest and to try to wake up again with the same energy and to go on court with the same mentality, try to play close to the way that I played today.”

Kei Nishikori continued to impress in his comeback beating Marin Cilic in three tough sets 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-4. It’s Nishikori’s first Masters semi since 2016 Canada.

“This week has been pretty good. It’s my first tournament on clay. I always love to play on clay court,” Nishikori said. “I have been feeling pretty good. I think every match is getting closer and closer.”

Awaiting Nishikori will be Alexander Zverev who celebrated his 21st birthday winning a thriller over Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.

“I’m just happy that I could turn around the second set. I thought I played probably the best set of this tournament so far on all levels, from the baseline, returning-wise. Obviously the third set was very intense, a lot of tight moments. I feel like in the tightest moments we both played the best tennis,” Zverev said.

Zverev leads 1-0 with a win over Nishikori last summer in D.C. and he’s a perfect 3-0 in Masters semifinals.

SATURDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III Starts At 11:30 Am
SF (WC) Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini v 4 Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan
Not Before 1:30 Pm
SF 1 Rafael Nadal v 4 Grigor Dimitrov
Not Before 3:30 Pm
SF 3 Alexander Zverev v Kei Nishikori
Followed By
SF 3 Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic v Rohan Bopanna/Edouard Roger-Vasselin


You Might Like:
Pain-Free Djokovic Dominates In Clay Debut; Thiem v Rublev Tues At Monte Carlo
Wawrinka v Zverev in St. Petersburg Final; Thiem Faces Pouille For Metz Title
Thiem Tames Djokovic, Nadal Next In Monte Carlo; Raonic Injured Again
Murray Wins, Nadal Struggles at Monte Carlo; Nadal v Zverev Thursday
Andy Murray In, Kei Nishikori Out Of Barcelona

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

83 Comments for Nadal Dominates Thiem To Reach Monte Carlo SFs, Dimitrov Awaits; Nishikori-Zverev To Meet

chofer Says:

“Who many consider” is the catchphrase:) The chief staff writer thinks so. Time to re-consider?

I think Dom is better on clay than any other surface, but I’ve always thought he has been overhyped as much as he is overmatched.


chofer Says:

I want to tell everyone here I’m glad I’m in this site again. You’re a bunch of rational people. Just one look at tennis.com and the commentaries there involving Federer (would do this or that)in an article that is about Nadal and this particular tournament make me sick on my stomach.

When the obnoxious fandom a propos of nothing will end? I will never undertand such kind of disguised hatred or resentment,e especially between these two people who otherwise have an exceptional relationship for such a storied rivalry.

If in the Connors/McEnroe Era Internet existed; these tools would be the stinkier of sewers. Perhaps, time is wise. Those really hate each other guts.


Anto Says:

@chofer @ 12:57, I second this.


Madmax Says:

It’s all a bit boring really right now.

Roll on the grass court season and welcome back to Andy Murray, to Roger and hoping everyone gets over these injuries that keep plaguing our players.


Willow Says:

Each to their own, but i love every surface in the tennis calendar, and there have been some great match ups too this week, might be just me ?


Giles Says:

No, it’s not boring right now. On the contrary. In fact Federer is boring.


Willow Says:

There has been some really great matches this week, not boring at all, loved Rafas picture with the mirror men lol ….


Willow Says:

Wanted to put up a picture of Rafa in a suit with the mirror men which is a gorgeous picture, but it wont let me copy and paste, Giles will you do it for me please ?


Madmax Says:

Willow,

I am sorry. I had to say something to see if Giles would react like a child, which of course he did.

I just wish Rafa would stop claiming he is injured, when he needs these long lay offs to have his stem cell therapy. We all know about it and really, is it fair?


Willow Says:

I Dont know if stem cell therapy is fair, but it doesnt seem to be considered unfair either, like the cvac pod thingy, a fine line i suppose ….


Giles Says:

Willow. I don’t know the picture. Where did you see it?


Willow Says:

Giles i saw it when i looked on FB, and also i looked at the MC Masters Nadal picture, there was a lovely picture of him wearing a suit with a scarf around his neck, he was also seen having his picture taken with the mirror men, they were brilliant pictures ;-)


Willow Says:

The injuries are nothing new, Rafa fans know hes susceptible to injuries, and roll with the punches, and have learned not to to get worked up over it, i dont know what treatment hes using, as i dont know the ins and outs of of it all, but i dont assume when a player says they are injured they must automatically be lying….


Willow Says:

Giles thankyou yes those are the ones, he just looks breathtaking ;-)


Giles Says:

Madmax doing her usual “ pot stirring” routine. Lol
#Ignore


Giles Says:

Willow. You’re welcome.


FedExpress Says:

Just retire Dimitrov. Beyond pathetic.


Okiegal Says:

@Willow….Thanks for putting Giles onto a link out there….our roving reporter always gets the job done! I had not seen these and they were so cute of two handsome guys….

@Giles…..A big thanks for helping Willow out….😎😎😎 I reaped those rewards too!!


Daniel Says:

Dimi the first to make 4 games in a set this week over Nadal,anachievement already;-)


Okiegal Says:

It’s according to who’s using stem cell replacement whether it’s fair or not, no??


Markus Says:

FedExpress, if everybody who loses badly to Nadal on clay retires, there will be nobody left.


Daniel Says:

4-5 15-0 up and 2 DF in a row. kkk Classic Dimi


FedExpress Says:

Nadal didnt do anything special. Dimitrov self imploded.


Markus Says:

Stem cell therapy only improves you up to your normal level, if at all. It does not enhance your performance above that which your body can normally do. So, Nadal is just being restored to his uninjured level. Nothing wrong with that especially if it makes him feel well in the rest of his off-tennis life.


Giles Says:

Oki. Always pleased to oblige. Cheers. 🥂


Okiegal Says:

@ Markus 8:55…. Thanks for being so sensible….. I always read your comments…….because of your tennis knowledge in all areas! You’re so sweet! 😘😘😘


Okiegal Says:

C’mon MC fans don’t cheer Dimi on… I want this match over…….. but he is easy on his the 👁👁!
@Margot……. Right????


Okiegal Says:

@Giles…..Back at cha…..🥂!


Okiegal Says:

Rafa in beast mode again today!


Okiegal Says:

TXers won’t have to worry about me anymore during the Oklahoma tornado season….I had me a cellar built this week…I can now go underground when the F-7 tornado hits…..I can rest a little easier now…..Got it finished just in time….storm warnings all week-end!! I will admit not all TXers care about Okie and the Okie storms but maybe 2 or 3 do…. I just hope I don’t fall going down the stairs and break my neck…that would be funny, no?? 😱😱😱🌪🌪🌪
🤠🤠🤠


Willow Says:

Markus well said ;-)


Willow Says:

Just as long as you stay safe dear Okie ;-)


j-kath Says:

Well done “Okie-Braveheart” – TV? Special lights? Wee stove? Mobile? and other mod coms…..don’t forget to come out when all is clear.


Madmax Says:

Oki and Giles, if you want to team up, go right ahead. This is not pot stirring, this is fact.

Marcus, you are no doctor, neither am I. That is the not the whole picture regarding SCT and you know that. But why bother with a discussion, a proper discussion about it, because you already aren’t open to debate. Alternative universe thinking. That is all.

Yes, seems another walk in the park for Nadal. Until someone starts to believe they can actually win against him, it will become just another boring match to watch.


Madmax Says:

on clay, I mean.


Margot Says:

Poor old Gorgeous Grig, Rafa not playing at his top level and he still got thumped.
As for Kei and Sascha neither looks particularly bothered. Perhaps neither relishes the prospect of meeting Rafa?
Read jalep’s “rant” yesterday and Kei has been grimacing and shaking his wrist, but, if it’s injured, should he really be playing?


Okiegal Says:

@JK…… I don’t have all of my necessary things in there yet….. it is set up for electrical additions like lights….got to get an electrician hired next…. but until then candles will have to do and a flash light! I hope I never have to use it….. but I’m in the path ……I live in the far western part of the county and they always come in from the west. I have seen the clouds with circulation from three different tornadoes that did eventually touch down. One got very close to me…. a mobile home was blown into the trees about a block from me… this was several years ago….yep I’m deathly afraid of them!

@ Willow…… Thanks!! It’s located just a hop skip and a jump out my back door!


Markus Says:

Madmax, we don’t really know what others do outside TX, do we? I would suggest that you read about stem cell transplantation before you complain about what I posted.


Margot Says:

Be safe, Okiegal. Hope you can get Rafa’s matches down there…;)


skeezer Says:

Ahhhhhhh Clay, the defense game, the game where your strategy is to park so far back in the court you could actually be mistaken for a linesman. The game where it means more to just get the ball in play than hit shot making winners,.The game where you can always get to a ball. The game where the ball bounces so slow and high you can eat a PBJ in between shots and still have time to hit it. The game where you have so much time too hit a ball, you can blow a kiss to your GF, wink to someone in the crowd, and then give your attention back to the task at hand and hit a successful “just get in” ball. The game where you can spit on the court at will, and no mark nor stain will be left. Clay, the game, the surface, the wonder.


Okiegal Says:

@Margot……. This would be a challenge for me….Rafa or the cellar???? I guess the cellar because if a tornado should touch down….. no TV anyway……


Tennis fan Says:

Grow up skeezer that’s all i can say.


jalep Says:

Margot,

Kei’s wrist working just fine today. Sheesh. I forgive him. Marin was injured and Kei is very polite lol He was empathizing with friend, Marin.

But now Kei fighting. Finalist points on offer. I though Sascha gave everything to beat the crowd fave, playing lovely tennis, Gasquet.

Okay, truth is, it will kind of irk me if Kei wins. But no chance for either vs Rafa – so…


Okiegal Says:

Markus 10:34….. Great comment…… SCR is a good thing imho…….I need it in my left need bad……You are so right….. we don’t know what is going on among the players regarding their fitness… it’s not considered to be performance inhancing to my knowledge nor is the egg……???


AndyMira Says:

Hey Squirrel my bro!…Ngape tiba2 skeezer jadi gila cam gini nih?hah?Tak kena ubat ke ari ni?


jalep Says:

Gosh, am I happy to read that you have a storm cellar, OKIGAL!!

Hope it’s very deep underground, the deeper the better, I think the experts say. Anyway I’ve never seen a tornado — can’t imagine the terror of having one coming right at me !!


Okiegal Says:

Hi Jalep! Thanks sweet lady! Appreciate it very much….. it is very deep! A lot of people have the safe rooms in their homes now……. but I have heard meteorologists say that if an F-7 comes through the only safe place to be is underground…… I’m gonna take him at his word!


Okiegal Says:

A good exciting clay match going on atm…… tied up!


jalep Says:

Not sure which one of these personal favorites I’d like to suffer a bludgeoning by Rafa.

Certainly Kei will truly be injured then. Sascha is younger – maybe recovers faster.


Okiegal Says:

Mira….I don’t speak Malay….. well I did understand one word….


Okiegal Says:

Jalep I don’t know who to put my money on either???


jalep Says:

Yeah Okiegal, it’s a good match but no one is posting about it on Tenngrand or here.

Disgusting for some, I should think, watching how feisty and spry Kei is today compared to yesterday vs Cilic.

It is what it is :D

Zverev is keeping it tight tho…maybe Sascha wants it more. I’m loving it.


Margot Says:

Much better third set gals. But so many forehand errors from Kei, very unusual and must indicate a problem Back hand is rock solid tho.,
Glad you have forgiven him jalep :)
But who desires a moidering most, I wonder….


jalep Says:

Hahaha Margot. Moidering is a great word for it. Grigor had his brain bucket emptied.

Guess it will be for Kei. But Kei would be best to play half-dead like he’s done before. Hate to see him take it.


Margot Says:

Lol jalep……I see no wrist problem….Kei is such a multi-talented player, a pleasure to watch when his game is flowing so, although I like handsome very much, quite glad Kei has won.


Madmax Says:

Marcus,

Be sure that whatever you say, you will have Oki and Giles on your side. Oki in particular who has changed colours drastically. No matter. We move forward, we move onwards and upwards.

I will stick to my views Marcus, and you stick to yours. If one cannot be objective, then really, no point because it will always be, ‘right back acha’. Great point Marcus, well said.

That is not a discussion. Really, but I’m fine with that Marcus. Really am.

Good luck!


Madmax Says:

So, Kei made it. Not what I thought, I really thought that Zverev would make the cut. Still a way to go though I believe.

I had not realised either that Kei was 28 – plenty of time for him to break through (on clay), but sadly, I fear it will be a cake walk for Rafa.

Go Kei!


Giles Says:

Madmax be sure to wear your red dress with the sequins tomorrow. Lol


Markus Says:

Madmax, stem cell transplantion is part of medicine. It is a science so what is or what it is for does not depend on one’s point of view. Stem cells generate cells and tissues which a body has lost due to disease or injury or does not have due to genetics. It only restores the organ to what it should be. It is not a drug and neither does it enhance the performance of such organ beyond what it is normally capable of. That is the basic concept of SCT. It is an interesting subject.

About Okie and Willow, I don’t post here to pander to them or to anybody. I have argued with them, especially Willow, and with many others regardless of who their favorites are. You probably know also that I am big Federer fan but it does not mean that I should condemn blindly everything that his opponents do.


skeezer Says:

Giles,
Why do you have to say things like that? Childish.


Daniel Says:

If Kei somehow wins (which I think he won’t as Nadal is super sharp and BH cross coirt seems better than ever), it will be 4 straight Master tornament with a first time winner, afer Sock (Paris), DelPo (IW) and Isner (Miami). If you add Dimi in Cincy last year only Federer broke the trend with Shangai. And Dimi was also a first time Masters Final winner also. Let’s see, Jei definetly has the tools: Double Hand BH and takingthe ball on the rise ala Davydenko. His serve ks vulnerable but on clayit doesn’t make that much of a difference as long as you break also.
The thing is Nadal only lost serve twice this week. Once agaisnt Bedene and once today agaisnt Dimi to love with a DF in his worst service game played all weak.


Willow Says:

I Thought Markus post was perfectly objective, hes actually a very fair poster, and if people find the CC tournaments so boring they have a choice, the over button, the off button, or if the weathers nice go out, not all of us spend 24 /7/ 365 days of the year living and breathing tennis anyway, its called life, now im having a rant ….


Willow Says:

Strange that people dont actually find domination boring when their own favorites are doing the dominating, yet its a completely different story when its a rival ….


jalep Says:

Only one person in the bracket challenge last week picked Kei to win more than a match! No one was expecting him to do so well. Most were picking PCB, Schwartzman, A. Zverev, or Pouille to get to the final. Of course those that picked PCB got stuck with Garcia-Lopez.

Every single person picked Rafa FTW.

Kei at his very best with Rafa not close to his best = maybe, slim chance maybe Kei would win. But certainly there was never anyone ready to seriously go up against a Rafa this healthy, in this draw. I was satisfied with the wins Novak managed to get. It’s a long road back for Nole.

Rumors have it that Stan has been practicing at MC – and he’s penciled in for Madrid. I think Delpo will be in Madrid too. I could imagine someone getting the title away from Rafa in Madrid. But Barcelona – no.

Happy that Sascha is going to rest for the week and return in Munich.

Missing Andy Murray a lot.


jalep Says:

LOL, Willow.

True @ 1:39. I’m supposed to be outside for a trail run right now – it’s beautiful outside; just the right temperature until some point in May when it suddenly turns 90 – 100F. Hate that kind of heat!


Willow Says:

I Miss Andy so much too, and Stan, but Andy more, and wheres Delpo ?


Willow Says:

Jalep ;-), here in blighty its pleasantly warm where i am, without been too unbearable, i must admit i cant stand it too hot either especially when im working, but im one of those that moans when its cold lol ….


jalep Says:

Delpo is scheduled to play Madrid and Rome :D
https://live-tennis.eu/en/atp-schedule


jalep Says:

And I hear Ferrer is having a baby any day now. Congrats!

He’s down to play Madrid and Rome.

Seriously don’t expect anyone to beat Rafa all clay season – I just accept it after all these years. (except possibly in Madrid or come close in Rome) It’s not boring. I love clay season. Not because Rafa will inevitably dominate but I like to see who else coming up has potential. I liked what I saw of teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas in MC. And I think Rublev will ultimately be a better clay court player than Karen Kachanov….that kind of stuff keeps me going….and WTA, of course. Fed Cup scores keeping me inside. I missed a couple fun matches: Ostapepenko beat Makarova and Pavlyuchenkova beat Sevastovea. Russia vs Lativa, Germany vs Czech R, USA vs France

And I could go on and on….but I shall spare people :D


Okiegal Says:

@Markus…..No you don’t pander to me…..we’ve had our disagreements….. but choose to respect each other’s opinions. We can agree to disagree and move on……….You are a lovely poster….I’m gonna work on me…. in trying to be more tolerant of all negative Rafa comments and also keeping negative remarks regarding other players in check……. but make no mistake, I will defend Rafa if I have to!


Okiegal Says:

@Markus 1:09……. great comment! You are an avid Fed fan and have all the rights in the world to adore him as a player…..he’s an awesome athlete!


j-kath Says:

I’ve been pushing myself to find a Favourite player to replace Andy and do support other players – but keep putting it off as if I was waiting to make a New Year’s resolution…..still might need to – but in the meantime I warm anew to recent comments from other tennis fans missing Andy as well.


Willow Says:

Ive also had disagreements with Markus, i did the other day on the foundation stuff, and i still stand by what i said and always will, but that certainly doesnt mean to say because we have a difference of opinion that i hate Federer, i know he can speak for himself but as Markus said he doesnt see SCT as any big deal and its not against the rules, and its not about pandering to posters, merely stating an opinion is all, and it was all very objective ….


tennismonger Says:

I’m glad Kei won – maybe he can make Rafa earn it more than any of the current (healthy) crop.

As for Sascha, I hope he just keeps his head down, keeps on grinding/peaking through the season & reviews the Soderling tape every other day.

His day will come.


Willow Says:

Kei pushed Rafa hard in Rome a couple of years ago, can he do it again time will tell ?


jalep Says:

In the best match of the Madrid 2014 tournament, imo, Kei got his butt kicked but managed to win over Ferrer in the SF. Kei went on to push Rafa hard (won a set off Rafa) in Madrid final, but had to retire. Rafans always point out that Rafa was also injured in that final ;) although in Rome that same year Rafa got to the final losing to Novak in 3 sets and Rafa went on to win RG.

It seems impossible that Rafa won’t win everything on clay this year but someone might sneak in a win in Madrid or Rome, as we’ve seen.

Anyway the point is: Kei can be reasonably good competition for Rafa if Rafa isn’t at his, I won’t say best level, because I’ve learned that at Rafa’s best level on clay no one but no one beats him. It’s true and ridiculous at the same time or… one might say it’s true and divine.

Kei also beat Rafa on clay in 2016 Rio Olympics to win a Bronze medal. People forget that one :D Kei is decent on clay when all the stars are in alignment. Beating Rafa on clay isn’t common occurrence ever.
Rafa must have been injured in Rio, seriously, not making a joke of it. I think I remember something about an injury.


Okiegal Says:

Rafa and Kei have met 11 times…..Rafa 9 wins Kei 2…….Kei is playing good….. we will see. Rafa even practiced after his match……


Okiegal Says:

@Willow….1:39…….You’ve noticed that too??


J.S. Says:

Hi Roomies!!!
Everyone see Rafa frantically text after his match today? So funny he wanted Carlos to get a court ASAP! I have never seen him text after a match before loosening his shoes, LOL! What a perfectionist…..nothing about Rafa is there for the $$ he wants to win! SO love him!

I’m off to Barcelona Wed – Sunday and will post updates from the tournament!

PEACE


Willow Says:

J.S you lucky thing im so jealous, Novaks took a WC into Barcelona, should be a great tournament, anyway hope Rafa wins MC first ….


j-kath Says:

Kei has a tendency to run out of steam – doubt he’ll take a set from Rafa.


tennismonger Says:

I’m thinking he could take a set… as for steam, he’s got plenty of that! It’s fitness/health that he tends to run out of… :-(


Leave Your Comment [guidelines]

Top story: French Open Women's Preview: This is Where the Action Is