Dimitrov defeated by world No. 1
Rafael Nadal (1) faced Bulgarian and Monaco resident Grigor Dimitrov (4) in the first semifinal match of Saturday, April 21, 2018, on court Rainier III, and the first set had the feeling of a final as both top seeded players put a fantastic show of superb tennis. The Bulgarian pushed the Spaniard to his limits but lost the first set on a contested point. On the second set Dimitrov was not the same man, and I am afraid he could not erase that point that cost him the set, lost concentration and started to make more mistakes, while Nadal kept going with his rock-hard dominating game, stopping the Bulgarian on his track in two straight sets 6-4 6-1 in their 12thFedEx ATP Head2Head meeting over 1 hour and 32 minutes.
“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 [I played] 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.”
Rafa is one step closer to conquering his 11th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament on Sunday against Japanese Kei Nishikori of Japan. “It’s a tough final, as a Masters 1000 should be, against a great opponent,”said Nadal. “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.”
Nadal will start his 171st week at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on Monday. If he loses in the final, then Roger Federer would reclaim the top spot. Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who lost to Dominic Thiem on Thursday, have both won a record 30 Masters 1000 trophies.
Nadal, who is contesting his second tournament of the year following a hip injury he suffered in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, leads Nishikori 9-2 in their series of matches. The 31-year-old Nadal has a 10-1 mark on the season.
Nishikori crushed the hopes of Next Gen Alexander Zverev
In the second semifinal, Japanese Kei Nishikoriqualified for the Final on his fourth three-setter in five matches this week on Saturday to become the first player from Japan to reach the final of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, which first began in 1897.
Nishikori KO’d third seeded German and Monaco resident Alexander Zverev in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 semi-final victory that took two hours and 13 minutes. Nishikori had previously lost to Zverev in the Citi Open semi-finals at Washington, D.C. in July 2017. The German challenged the Japanese by playing his best tennis, took advantage of Nishikori’s temporary loss of concentration to book the first set. But then became inconsistent with his serve, made more mistakes, allowing Nishikori to win the next two sets.
The 28-year-old Nishikori will play 10-time champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s championship match at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. By the way, World No. 1 Nadal returned to a practice court on Saturday afternoon after his win over Grigor Dimitrov, and did not look tired at all!
The 21-year-old Zverev, attempted to become the first player from Germany to reach the final since Boris Becker, who was honored at the tournament earlier in the week.
Bryan Brothers will meet Marach/Pavic in doubles final
On the first doubles semifinals the Bryan Brotherswere forced into a Match Tie-break, and once again, the Americans prevailed, moving closer to a record sixth title in the principality of Monaco, defeating the Italian pair of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fonini with a 4-6 6-3 10-7 victory, in 84 minutes on Court Rainier III.
“We love what we do and we really enjoy this tournament,”said Mike Bryan on-court. “By winning we can stay one more day and try to win our sixth trophy here.”
The 39-year-olds, who turn 40 in eight days’ time, extended their FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Bolelli and Fognini to 5-0, despite losing their first set against the duo (and second overall) since the 2013 Australian Open semi-finals. If you want to recognize who is Bob and who is Mike, remember this: Mike is right-handed, and Bob is a lefty!
The fourth-seeded Bryans will now prepare for their Final against this year’s Australian Open champions, Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, who have won three tour-level titles in 2018, who defeated defending champion Rohan Bopanna of India and his partner, France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Program for Sunday, April 22, 2018 – Court Rainier III
11:30 – Doubles Final
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs Oliver Marach (Austria) /M. Pavic (Croatia)
Followed by Awards Ceremony
14:30 – Singles Final
Rafael Nadal (1) (Spain) vs. Kei Nishikori (Japan)
Followed by Awards Ceremony
“Tennis mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even go out there.”Venus Williams