The semi-final line-up at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters ATP 1000 has been set as the eight time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain exacted sweet revenge over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer as he won in three sets on Friday 6-4,5-7,6-2 at the Monte Carlo Country club. That set up a mouthwatering clash against the world number One Novak Djokovic who ended his run of 46 consecutive wins at this event as the Serb won his only title at this event when he won the 2013 final before Nadal had won the 2009 and 2012 final played between the two. This would be the 43rd meeting between the two, the longest rivalry between two players in the Open Era.
Djokovic is on a 15 match winning streak with a 28-2 mark in 2015 as he annihilated the reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-0,6-3. He took the first eight games before Cilic finally held serve, however he could offer only token resistance to the Serb who only needs to add the French Open title to complete the career slam. Nadal though had to fight hard against the dogged Ferrer and squandered commanding leads in the first two sets. He had two breaks of serve and led 5-2 in the first set but dropped serve before finally winning the first set 6-4. He led 3-0 in the second with two breaks and served for the match at 5-4 only for Ferrer to reel off three consecutive games to force a decider which Nadal won comprehensively 6-2.
Earlier on in the day the consistent Tomas Berdych entered his sixth semi-final of the year in seven tournaments as the no. 4 seed Milos Raonic of Canada retired due to a foot injury trailing 2-5 in the first set. He next faces the Frenchman Gael Monfils who followed up his shocking upset of Roger Federer with a surprisingly easy 6-1,6-3 demolition of the Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov who had earlier ended the run of the defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka.
The semi-final line up with my picks mentioned with their head to head records is as under :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Rafael Nadal (3) ; Nadal leads 23-19.
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Gael Monfils (14); Berdych leads 5-1.
Djokovic with wins at the Australian Open, Indian Wells-Miami double for an unprecedented third time is 28-2 in 2015. Nadal’s only title in Buenos Aires is 18-5 this year. This is their first meeting in 2015. Berdych has already beaten Monfils twice this year but neither player has won a title this year. Berdych is 26-6, while Monfils has a 16-5 mark in 2015. While Berdych reached the finals in Doha and Rotterdam and was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open, Monfils was a runner-up in Marseille.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]