Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - Rafael Nadal will try for his
ninth straight title at the Monte Carlo Masters and will face Novak Djokovic
in Sunday's blockbuster final after both won semifinal matches on Saturday.
Nadal claimed a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) triumph over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in
the first semifinal before Djokovic made short work of Italy's Fabio Fognini
in a 6-2, 6-1 rout.
Sunday's final will be a rematch of the 2009 and 2012 title matches, won by
the clay-court king. Nadal has won 46 straight matches on the red clay at
Monte Carlo Country Club and is 48-1 all-time at the French Open tune-up.
Nadal needed three sets to dispose of Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in Friday's
quarterfinals, then appeared destined for an easier semifinal after a pair of
breaks in the first set against Tsonga and two more in the second that gave
him a comfortable 5-1 advantage.
Tsonga then fought back. He won the next four games, including two breaks of
serve and three match points saved, to even the set at 5-5. He saved another
match point serving at 5-6 and it eventually went to a tiebreaker.
Nadal, though, won the final four points of the tiebreaker to finally finish
the French veteran.
The third-seeded Spaniard is in position to win his fourth title in five
events this year, a remarkable feat coming off a seven-month layoff from knee
issues. He skipped the Australian Open and made his season-debut in February
in Chile, reaching the final before falling to the unheralded Horacio
Since that defeat, however, Nadal has won 19 straight matches with titles in
Sao Paolo, Acapulco and Indian Wells to increase his total haul to 53. He won
his 22nd Masters crown in Indian Wells with a victory over Juan Martin del
Potro and will try for No. 23 on Sunday.
Djokovic, the Australian Open champ, lost to del Potro in the semifinals at
Indian Wells and was a surprise fourth-round loser to Tommy Haas in Miami
prior to this week's run. He also won in Dubai earlier this year and owns 36
The top-seeded Serb had it easy on Saturday, disposing of Fognini in a mere 52
minutes. He did not face a break point and won 54 of the 80 points played in
It will probably be a little tougher for Djokovic on Sunday in the first
meeting with Nadal since last year's French Open final. Nadal won the Parisian
slam for a seventh time with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 triumph and improved to
19-14 against Djokovic.
Nadal is 12-2 against the current world No. 1 on clay. The 2009 Monte Carlo
final went three sets with Nadal claiming a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 victory, while the
2012 title match ended in just 79 minutes with a 6-3, 6-1 Nadal rout.
The 2013 Monte Carlo champion will collect $655,000.
The Sports Network