Clay master Nadal sent packing from Monte Carlo Masters


Rafael Nadal holds many records in tennis, but he is especially strong on clay where he has won a majority [13 of 20] of his Grand Slam titles. But on Friday, Andrey Rublev, the world No. 8, dumped the 11-time Monte Carlo Masters’ winner out in the quarterfinal.

The elite Masters tournament had already witnessed world No.1, Novak Djokovic, crash out in the third round to Daniel Evans, but Nadal’s loss was surprising, especially after he had roused himself from a 6-2 first set loss. In his 16th straight Monte-Carlo quarter-finals, Nadal won the second set 6-4 but fell completely apart in the third, losing 2-6.

Nadal, now ranked third in the world after Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, said afterwards that his serve had let him down.

“For some reason, I had problems with my serve,” Nadal said in the post-match interview. “I don’t understand why, because I was not having problems in the practices at all. But today, was one of those days that my serve was a disaster.

“Serving like this, the serve creates an impact on the rest of the game. When you serve with no confidence, you are just focusing on trying to serve, not thinking about how you want to [hit] the ball. You just think about what you have to do with the serve to put the ball in.

“When you face great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose. That’s easy to analyse,” he concluded.

The Spaniard has won all titles at Monte-Carlo since 2005, missing out in 2014, which Stan Wawrinka won; the 2015 title won by Djokovic and the 2019 title won by Fabio Fognini.

Monte Carlo has been the kickoff stage for Nadal in his 13 triumphs at the French Open as he aims to claim a 14th Roland Garros title in June and take his Grand Slam titles to 21.

The semi-final pairing in Monte Carlo will see Rublev up against Casper Ruud, while Evans will tangle with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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