Majestic Nadal hammers Thiem in Monte Carlo

Majestic Nadal hammers Thiem in Monte Carlo

Majestic Nadal hammers Thiem in Monte Carlo

The world No 1 is heavily favoured to claim an 11th Monte Carlo title having now reached the quarter-finals or better for 14 years in a row.

Nadal went into his last-16 meeting knowing the potential hurdle of facing Novak Djokovic had been removed after seeing the Serbian suffer defeat to Dominic Thiem in the previous encounter on Court Rainier III. You feel less exhausted because you get used to the high intensity.' About adjusting his schedule the way his rival Roger Federer has done, in the last two years, Nadal replied, '[It's] not in my plans, but I can't say "never" because I cannot predict what's going to be in the future.

Goffin led 4-0 in the second set but the Belgian missed three set points at 5-4. "That excites me to get out on Saturday and play my match, simple as that". It was the 12th time Nadal had whitewashed a set against a top-10 player, and he got the second set underway with another love hold.

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The Spanish veteran is challenging for a record 31st Masters title, 24 of which have been on clay.

Despite another double fault, Thiem banished the first-set jitters to close out the set at the first time of asking and force a decider.

He proved more stubborn as he saved two break points in the sixth game before surprisingly breaking back to give the world number 38 hope of taking the opener. "I think I played a great match, my best match of the tournament for sure and one the best I've played on clay for a while", said Nadal. "That definitely doesn't discourage me", said Dimitrov. He broke straight back and then took complete control. The fourth-seeded Bulgarian beat No. 6 David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 (5) in an error-strewn match.

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On the other side of the draw, second seed Marin Cilic will challenge Kei Nishikori, while Alexander Zverev faces Richard Gasquet.

Dimitrov, ranked fifth in the world, clinched victory with his second match point as Goffin failed to avenge his defeat in the ATP World Tour finals past year. The serve may travel through the air just the same on hard courts and clay courts, but once it bounces on clay, the returner can immediately employ a lot more offence against the biggest shot in our sport.

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