Nadal Falls In Quarterfinals At Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Rafael Nadal (photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour)

MONTE-CARLO/STARNBERG, April 16, 2021 (Press Release)

The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters 2021 will remain as a unique one. And not only due to the pandemic and lack of spectators. For the first time, the four semi-finalists are players who have never played a semi-final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas will face the world No. 33 Daniel Evans. The other semi-final will see the young generation clash between World No. 8 Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud.

The sixth-seeded Russian held his nerve to complete a stunning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 upset over 11-time champion Rafael Nadal who had an issue with his serve. Rublev entered the clash trailing Nadal 0-2 in their ATP Head2Head. But he came out swinging fearlessly against Nadal on Court Rainier III, the same court where the Spaniard has lifted a record 11 trophies in the Principality of Monaco.

“I don’t even know what to say. I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have that pressure every time,” Rublev said in his post-match interview. “I think for him it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock [with] the way he is playing under this pressure and that is why he is a legend.”

A most disappointed Nadal admitted that he was hoping for a better start of the clay season. “Always sad to lose here because it s a place important for me. And I was hoping for a different result but I cannot complain. When you face such a great player, if you don’t play well, you lose. Today my serve was a disaster and when you serve badly, it has an impact on the rest of the game.”

Ruud defeats defending champ

Ruud moved into the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over defending champion Fabio Fognini.  Though the Italian was playing the better tennis in the first set, he faltered at the most important moments.

“It was a tough match today. It has been a great week for me so far. I have beaten good players and today was a very big challenge,” Ruud said in his post-match interview. “Fabio is the defending champion here and he plays very tricky. He can hit winners from anywhere and you really need to be ready for anything to come at you. I was happy with the way I was able to stay steady and make him play an extra ball here and there to force an error out of his play. It’s a nice feeling to be in the semi-finals.”

Evans continues good run of form

Earlier in the day, Evans backed up his win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic with a hard-fought victory over David Goffin in order to reach his first Masters 1000 semi-final. The British, who had come into the Monte-Carlo tournament on a 10-match losing streak on clay courts, overcame Monaco resident and No. 11 seed Goffin 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 42 minutes. 

“I played good today,” said Evans. “I felt a bit more pressure today to not [just] win yesterday and give a bad performance today. It wasn’t easy after the match yesterday, I felt really tired afterwards. To get back and focus, it was difficult. I am proud of how I came back today, especially with what happened in the first set. I felt [my] concentration wasn’t great and I am really happy with coming through. Yesterday, would not have been worth it with a bad performance today.”

Evans will face Tsitsipas, who qualified as his opponent Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain was forced to retire.