Rafael Nadal is only one win from winning an unprecedented 10th title at the Monte Carlo Masters series event after beating Belgium’s David Goffin, the conqueror of two time champion Novak Djokovic in the second semi final on Saturday. He takes on fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas who will be bidding to win his maiden Masters title in the final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
The fourth seeded Mallorcan will be bidding to win his 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and 70th overall and 50th on clay. In what was the first meeting between the two, who were locked at tour leading 22 wins apiece, Nadal, the champion from 2005-2012 and 2016, was broken earlier in the third game and trailed 2-3, 0-40 in they opening set. Goffin was broken in a 22 point six game lasting 17 minutes. From thereon it was all Nadal who broke again in the eighth game to 30. He won four straight games to wrap up the first set in 57 minutes.
Goffin, who beat Djokovic for the first time in six meetings on Friday in two hours and thirty eight minutes could not survive the relentless pace and depth of Nadal’s groundstrokes and lost the last five games from 1-1 in the second set. Nadal won 6-3,6-1 in just 90 minutes and improved to 23-5 on the year. Goffin fell to 22-8 for the year but will jump to a career high no. 10 in the rankings on Monday.
In the first semi final, the left handed Ramos-Vinolas broke serve thrice in the first set, but was also broken once enroute to winning the first set 6-3. He saved 5 out of six break points in the second set as the Frenchman Lucas Pouille evened the match taking the second set 7-5. In the third set, Pouille dropped serve twice before going down 3-6,7-5,1-6 in two hours and sixteen minutes.
The eleventh seeded Pouille is projected to rise to no. 14 in the rankings while Ramos-Vinolas is assured an entry into the top twenty no matter the outcome of the final. He is likely to be no. 19 in the rankings and could could jump to no. 14 with a win in the final. Nadal leads the head to head 2-0 and is poised to create history against the 29 year old Ramos-Vinolas. Both their meetings were in Barcelona on clay in 2013 and 2014 and Nadal won in straight sets on both occasion. Ramos-Vinolas who upset Andy Murray in the round of 16 after trailing 0-4 in the decider will face the ultimate test in tennis against the clay court master.
Prediction :- Nadal in two tight sets or possibly three.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]